2020 was no doubt one of the most challenging years in recent history. The shock of the pandemic overshadowed issues around the environment and economy. Every part of society had to overcome new challenges. This proved that the world can come together in times of crisis, which lead to progress like never before. It's this setting which makes 2021 such an exciting time for innovation. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most innovative industries in the UK right now. Then, we'll highlight some examples of what makes these industries so innovative.
The water industry is entering a new price control period, which means Ofwat are changing the way they regulate the networks. This is particularly exciting because it will see £200m investment in innovation grants available to the water sector. This is something the UK hasn’t yet seen before.
To go with this, the water networks have come together in devising a Water Innovation 2050 strategy. This is an important milestone for the water networks. It proves that their organisations are working together towards common objectives. We expect this will be a chance to showcase some incredible innovation. We also foresee it sharing the knowledge gained.
Key highlights of innovation in the water sector include:
The UK gas networks are also entering a new price control period (RiiO-2). This is particularly exciting, as it brings with it new working practices that are bound to bring important innovation to life. Coupled with this, is a new regulatory framework. The framework pushes the importance of carbon reducing projects (net-zero). It also describes other other overarching objectives for the UK gas networks. Detailed information around Ofgem’s plans for RiiO-2 can be found in their Final Determinations.
It’s not just Ofgem pushing gas network innovation in the right direction. The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has also been pivotal in guiding network innovation in this sector. They’ve achieved this, in part, by laying out key themes, objectives, principals and outcomes for networks to work towards. You can read more about this on the ENA Website.
Key highlights of UK gas innovation include:
The UK electricity industry isn’t entering their new price control period until 2023. Having said this, the sector is witnessing some of their greatest challenges yet. Networks must evolve to take on many of the responsibilities previously accounted for by fossil fuels.
Thus, Ofgem and the ENA are by no means forgetting about them. They are continuing to allocate resources to the continued development and innovation in the electricity networks.
Key highlights of UK electricity innovation include:
The UK telecoms industry is managed and regulated differently to the more traditional utilities. The fact that it is newer technology with lower environmental impact, means there is less emphasis on carbon reduction. Nevertheless, the industry has proved itself as just as vital to society, particularly over the last year, where an increase in working from home has required fast and reliable internet connection for the majority of homes.
Key highlights of UK telecoms innovation include: