PSC attends virtual Future Networks Conference
May 19, 2021

Ann Burns, PSC
Europe Sales & Marketing Lead

UK energy executives gathered virtually during Future Networks Conference April 28-29 to discuss the issues surrounding the country’s energy transformation to net zero. The conference, organized by Utility Week, featured over 20 industry speakers with more than 150 network and energy system specialists in attendance, including two from PSC.

Steve Nutt and Tim Miles attended the conference that spanned over two days.

Steve attended the first day via video conference that still enabled attendees to have discussions in “break-out” groups before and after presentations. This format, in these challenging times, worked really well and enabled Steve to discuss issues with key market players.

He also attended a keynote presentation from Akshay Kaul from OFGEM who detailed the challenges ahead for the objective of Net Zero at low cost, in which he stated that the industry needs to be more efficient, react to the changes faster and that market regulation would be changed to enable this to happen.

In response, there was a panel session made up of executives from Northern Powergrid, SSEN, UK Power Networks and Hitachi ABB Power Grids who offered their perspectives on handling uncertainty and the requirement for rapid action on decarbonization. They discussed whether or not the RIIO2FD framework is sufficiently attractive to investors, if the strategic innovation fund of sufficient size to tackle the scale of decarbonization required, and they even discussed what can be done now to ensure they are hiring people with the right skills for future demands.

Steve’s overall view of the conference, “It was of great value, and almost as good as being there in person!

Tim attended day two, particularly enjoying the talk by WPD’s DSO Manager Ben Godfrey on the role of flexibility in bridging the gap to net zero. Matt Webb, Head of Enterprise Data at UK Power Networks presentation, “Opening-up for the data enabled smart grid,” covered a lot of subject matter (e.g., data availability, ED2 and digital strategy, bandwidth, etc.) that is pivotal to PSC Innovation projects such as Virtual Statcom and the Reflex project that we are helping to get off the ground with WPD.