Network October 2016

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NETWORK / 5 / OCTOBER 2016 E D I T O R ' S N O T E Delays to key consultations on the future of the energy system rumble on. The highly anticipated smart systems call for evidence has still to be issued at time of writing and sources close to a range of future energy projects at Ofgem and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy tell Network there are now "tens" of studies, consultations and other documents waiting to see the light of day, held back by political expediency. This is the inevitable upshot of the political upheaval of recent months. But nonetheless, it places a frustrating brake on the pro- cess of transformation for an energy system which is, in places, groaning under pressure for change. As energy networks and their commercial and technology part- ners push on with innovation projects, there is a natural desire to see their - ndings adopted into business-as-usual operations. However, with clarity lacking over the future of local system operation, as well as uncertainty about pathways to decarbon- ised heat and the role of key technologies like carbon capture and storage, it's diƒ cult to know what business as usual ought to look like. Are we making progress when we transfer project - ndings into today's business models? Or are we creating stick- ing plasters which will be rendered irrelevant? Measurement of innovation success is tricky at the best of times, but it is in- nitely harder when you don't know the shape of the market that government and regulators want to create. • Technology and regulatory issues o en dominate discussions around energy system change, but the issue of skills is never far behind. Networks have already invested a great deal in upskill- ing sta‡ to deal with changing technology and modes of opera- tion. They've also squared up to the challenge of replacing the high number of workers due for retirement in coming years with apprenticeship and graduate recruitment programmes. But the demand for skills across the energy industry and wider infrastructure sectors is much greater than any one company can answer alone and there is a need for more collective and co- ordinated action. With this in mind, Network is proud to count itself among the delivery partners for a new energy and utilities sector skills strategy. Read more on page 15. C OMING SO ON ∙ LCNI roundup • Smart systems • Distributed generation • The growth of heat • OFTO & CATO YOUR NET W ORK Give the people what they want Let us know what projects, technologies and topics you want us to cover Have your say Express your opinions and respond to content by blogging or writing for the magazine A social Network Follow us on Twitter: @Network_mag Email the editor: Jane Gray • OFTO & CATO

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