It is difficult to exaggerate the speed and scale of the changes in our electricity system.

Just a few years ago power was generated in 50 or so large fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. There are now nearly one million renewable energy generators largely connected at the edge of the grid. Power regularly flows up the distribution network to the national transmission grid. Many householders, landowners and businesses produce their own power ‘behind the meter’, reducing their reliance on the electricity network.

We are just at the start of this energy transition. Technological innovation and the climate imperative are
disrupting the market. Renewable energy is dropping in price and out competing fossil fuels. Technologies
like electric vehicles and storage are developing rapidly whilst big data and ICT technologies enable innovative ways of matching supply and demand.

Responding to these challenges will change every aspect of the way we generate, supply and use electricity.

Working with the University of Bath the aim of this paper is to look at some of the key directions in which
electricity generation, use and supply will change. We have chosen to examine innovation in three key
areas: local energy markets enabling local balancing of supply and demand; flexible networks; and enabling
technologies including ICT, storage and blockchains.

Delivering a Smart Energy System

November 2017