Next chapter for Distributed Energy is an exciting one

I was fortunate to speak at Westminster this week [not on Brexit thankfully] at a Winter Reception hosted by The Association for Decentralised Energy [ADE].

It proved a welcome opportunity to focus on the positive transformation taking place within Britain’s energy system. As an optimist I believe that with the right supporting winds in its sails, there is every opportunity to embark on another great chapter in the development of our energy ‘ecosystem.’

The UK has already achieved a great deal in transforming its power sector during the last decade. The road has inevitably been bumpy at times, and there’s much more to do, but the pace of change has been rapid. By 2017, almost a third of our electricity came from renewable sources – roughly four times more than in 2010.

Technologies, such wind, biomass and solar, have been the primary drivers of that change; and the need for green energy infrastructure of this scale remains. So at SSE Group level our core mission remains to invest in and build low carbon energy infrastructure we all need – from billion pound windfarms in the North Sea to 200km power lines to unlock Scotland’s vast renewable resources.

But new waves of technology are upon us, likely to create a more diverse energy ecosystem. Distributed Energy can cover and facilitate many things: from modular power and storage solutions, closer to the point of use, dispatched and aggregated remotely by smart systems. Not to mention demand side response, electric vehicle fleets, low carbon heat networks and of course the advent of smarter energy efficiency systems and software. All of these new solutions can work together, even on one customer’s site, tailored to their particular needs and optimised in real time.

Distributed energy solutions like these in the future can help to provide customers with the energy they need, giving them more control and resilience. I believe it will become an important part of the increasingly connected grid of the future.

So within SSE Enterprise a quiet revolution is also taking place, to enable us to face the exciting new markets that this transformation of parts of our energy system are going through. At the forefront of this will be our beefed up Distributed Energy business that will bring together under one roof our current and emerging expertise in utilities, EV infrastructure, digital services, heat networks and building management services.

Of course new markets need the right governance. Too much red tape and you stifle innovation – too little and it becomes a free for all where the customer gets forgotten. Distributed Energy is all about putting the ‘active’ customer at the centre so I can only welcome  the huge amount of work the ADE has already undertaken when it comes to proposing appropriate frameworks for the development of this market. SSE Enterprise wants to play a full part in its journey. 

About the author

Richard Cave-Bigley Sector Director, Distributed Generation & Storage, SSE Enterprise Utilities

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