Creating an ‘Airbnb for electricity’

It was Franklin D Roosevelt who said “there are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” His words may have been delivered over 80 years ago, but right now they couldn’t be more apt in summing up the challenges facing the energy sector.

At SP Energy Networks, innovation is at the heart of what we do to make sure we keep your lights on. We know that standing still is not an option, and we need to explore a myriad of ways of delivering a cleaner, greener, better future, quicker for us all.

More of our electricity comes from renewable sources as we look to tackle climate change and air pollution. But that change has only been possible because of the innovation in the industry; not only in the harnessing of renewable energies, but how they can be connected to the electricity grid, and how that electricity can then be used to power a new future of cheaper, cleaner electric transport and electric heating.

SP Energy Networks is at the forefront of the industry in facilitating people’s ambitions to transition to a low carbon economy. Using smart digital technology we are actively managing our networks of wires and cables across central and southern Scotland, which deliver electricity from our sub-stations to people’s homes; making our assets work harder to keep customer costs down.

But we are doing much more. We have won funding from the regulator Ofgem to create a whole new system of future energy delivery; which will turn people from consumers to prosumers. Our Fusion project in East Fife will create an online trading platform – like Airbnb but for electricity – where people will trade their energy flexibility, using the stored energy they may have in their roof solar panels or their electric vehicle batteries to come off the grid at peak times, allowing us to manage electricity supply more efficiently.

We are also the first electricity network operator to map out the impact electric vehicle uptake will have on Scotland’s commuter towns; we have won Network Innovation Competition funding to map transport and electricity networks to predict where electric vehicle chargers will need to be installed, and we are also a partner in a ground-breaking project to ensure the security of electricity supply through renewables, should the worst happen, and the whole grid need to be kick-started.

Green electricity is the energy of the future. SP Energy Networks is the utility of the future. We are certainly not standing still.

Scott Mathieson is Director, Network Regulation and Planning, at SP Energy  Networks.

Download a PDF of FutureScot Magazine in The Times Scotland 15.12.18.