Innovation happening across the sector
One of the keys to unlocking a low-carbon and customer-centric future is innovation.
ENA heard from its stakeholders last year they wanted to know more about how lines companies are supporting decarbonisation and transforming their networks for new technologies and customer preferences.
So this year ENA carried out its first innovation stocktake of all its members to find out the number and range of projects New Zealand lines companies are exploring or implementing to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.
It found out there are at least 108 different current projects across the country. A number of these are trials or pilot programmes designed to test the business cases for future investment and understand how these might deliver value to customers.
Several lines companies are actively exploring new ways to improve their understanding of how and when their customers are using electricity, and how that is going to impact network capacity and asset management in the future. Other projects involve the use of smart meters, off-grid solutions, distributed generation (ie, solar), grid-scale batteries and advanced network automation.
“While lines companies clearly are innovating already, the current regulatory settings will need to be amended to encourage greater investment in innovation, help reduce reliance on fossil fuels, manage grid reliability, and build future networks that support changing customers preferences,” commented ENA chief executive Graeme Peters.
Last week ENA wrote to government policy makers and regulators to tell them about the stocktake and the high-level results.
It has shared the stocktake data with its membership to encourage ideas and further innovation and is planning to repeat the stocktake regularly, working with members to refine it. ENA is now working out how best to publish the stocktake results in a form that’s interesting to a wider audience.