According to new research, although energy networks are adopting innovations from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), there is more that needs to be done.
The report, #CollectiveFuture Insights: Helping SMEs to access the energy industry, was published by the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) and the Energy Systems Catapult on Wednesday 24 May.
Eight in 10 (80%) SMEs had engaged with at least one distributed network operator or gas distribution network, with SMEs in the electricity sector having the highest level of engagement (88%). Initial engagement was found to lead to collaboration, however, it was said that just over half of SMEs (57%) reported some level of adoption by the networks. The report explained between engagement and adoption there is a 49% drop, meaning only half of SMEs that engaged with networks have an innovation adopted. The report also highlighted how funding for network innovation is crucial to SMEs engaging with the sector, though just over three in 10 (32%) of SMEs received some sort of innovation funding.
Philip New, Chief Executive at the Energy Systems Catapult said: “Innovation is fundamental to energy system transformation. Leveraging the potential of innovative SMEs is vital if we’re to access the full capacity of UK talent and drive productivity improvements. This involves overcoming some serious challenges. We need focused interventions based on a clear understanding of the landscape. Our aim is to help remove roadblocks and smooth the path for the strongest innovations to break through.”