Today’s energy managers invited to ‘have their say’ in order to develop pre-emptive solutions to tomorrow’s utility challenges

In September 2017, leading business energy consultancy Inenco released its latest insight into how the role of the energy manager will change by 2030, and has highlighted the level of investment needed.

Inenco partnered with independent research agency DJS Research to commission primary research among UK businesses, interviewing energy managers across a range of sectors. Inenco then worked with Ricardo Energy & Environment to combine the findings with industry, digital and environmental trends to determine how the role of the energy manager will change in the future.

The research revealed that by 2030, today’s energy manager will have evolved into the future utilities manager – a senior-level, digitally savvy data scientist who will be responsible for making key strategic business decisions. With non-domestic energy still making up around 75 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption, the utilities managers of the future will play a pivotal role in delivering the UK’s low carbon agenda.

While predicting a significant expansion in the scope of the energy manager’s responsibilities, Inenco’s report also highlights a skills and technology gap that must be addressed in order for businesses to future-proof their operations and support the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy.

The growth of artificial intelligence, the role of big data, the introduction of new low carbon technologies and an increasingly decentralised grid mean that the future utilities manager will face major challenges. With at least two new energy compliance schemes forecast to be introduced in the next 13 years, they will also need to be adept at navigating new and complex energy legislation.

However, in order to deliver the utilities manager of the future, there is a need for investment in technology and training – with significant challenges to overcome. Unless businesses are effectively supported and are able to embrace best practice and innovation, meeting the UK’s energy targets could be under threat.

In response, Inenco has launched its Innovation Hub, an online platform for energy professionals to upload the challenges they face today by using #InencoHub on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.

A panel of experts will carefully select and prioritise each of the hub submissions and will then focus on developing pre-emptive solutions to tomorrow’s utility challenges through a series of hackathons, to be held in 2018.

Inenco is inviting the best and brightest minds to help find a solution for some of the biggest challenges in the energy market. The Bright Spark Energy Hackathons are designed for college and university students nationwide to ‘hack out’ a common challenge, collaborate with experts from the industry, brainstorm ideas and put them into practice outside the lecture theatre.

The series of hackathons are being held in March 2018, across the North West, Birmingham and London, with teams of two to four people tackling each challenge.

Final ideas will be pitched to industry experts, who will judge each team. Judging panellists include Inenco’s chief technology officer Jon Bauer, Laura Sandys, CEO of Challenging Ideas, and Andrew Eadle, director of customer service at First Utility, with more panellists to be announced in the coming months.

The proposed innovative solutions will be judged on their level of creativity, technical skill and conceptual design, along with the ability to pitch the idea well. The winners will be awarded with both career accelerating and monetary prizes, and the events will provide a great experience and networking opportunity for the participating students.

Inenco and partners will then look to invest in developing the successful solutions further to support and encourage the energy transition between now and 2030.

To have your say and voice your energy challenges, please visit the Innovation Hub where the full Future Utilities Manager Report is available to download along with further details on the upcoming hackathons.