Utility Week

UTILITY Week 3rd February 2017

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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18 | 3RD - 9TH FEBRUARY 2017 | UTILITY WEEK Event Future Networks conference T here has been no let-up over the past 12 months in the pressure on energy net- works to innovate, evolve to undertake new roles and develop whole-system think- ing. All the while, uncertainty has loomed over the industry as Ofgem, in partnership with government, has undertaken a series of significant reviews and consultations which are set to govern both the direction and means of travel. The wait continues for a final route map from government on the next steps to a smart, flexible energy system which should remove barriers and ensure a wealth of innovative technologies and services deliver substantial savings to customers, improve reliability and support the move to low carbon. Initial proposals indicate an increased focus on defining the role of distribution system operator (DSO), allowing energy net- works to take the lead, with the help of the government, to direct the industry towards a whole-system approach and optimise effi- ciency collaboratively, outside of their own asset base. In the meantime networks have been given the green light to continue innovating, albeit with a trimmed budget, to increase the focus on realising the benefits to consumers, and has signalled its intent to increase the competition and collaboration between net- works and third parties in the near future. This collaborative process will be required both within the industry to achieve a high-level whole-systems view, and at a local level to engage stakeholders to estab- lish a multi-vector approach to achieving a secure, affordable and low carbon energy system. Such an approach will capitalise on emerging technologies such as electric vehi- cles, turning them from a potential threat to security, to an opportunity for increasing flexibility. Ofgem has signalled its intent to move ahead with the system transition by splitting National Grid's system operator role ready to impartially handle an increasingly complex and distributed system. Whether it will be in sharing ideas, fund- ing initiatives or cross-vector projects, net- work operators must move now to address the challenges facing the sector and shape a future network that places customers at its heart. The third annual Future Networks Confer- ence, sponsored by Schneider Electric and Capula, will provide a platform for leading speakers from industry and government, exploring the challenges ahead. Delegates will gather in Birmingham on 21 March to hear from a wide spectrum of speakers from the industry covering system operation, innova- tion and system architecture. Representatives from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Ofgem will also divulge the intended direction of travel. Ahead of the conference, three of the speakers unpick the topics they will be cov- ering (facing page). Stepping into a new era With clarity and consensus finally due, the Future Networks Conference 2017 will explore the next steps for industry on innovation, customers and defining the role of a DSO. For more information Benjamin McNamara, business development director Email: BenMcNamara@fav-house.com Book now: events.networks.online/future Delegates last year said: "Fantastic speakers and very good audience. Perfect." NETWORK PLANNER, SSE POWER DISTRIBUTION "Very informative and well catered for in content." HEAD OF LAND AND PROPERTY, GREEN FROG POWER "Interesting topics by enthusiastic speakers." INNOVATION IMPLEMENTATION ENGINEER, ENW "Informative and inspiring to see such a vast demographic of interested parties." REGULATION & STRATEGY HEAD, NATIONAL GRID

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