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Thursday, 23 February 2023

Wanted: Innovation

TenneT is always looking for solutions to make a smarter and more optimal use of the transmission and distribution grids. We focus on working closely with partners in the value chain and market parties that wish to actively contribute to shaping the network of the future. For this purpose, the Open Innovation Programme has been launched. To find out more about the programme as well as what happened at the kick-off event, we interviewed Len Wismeyer, Advisor in the Digital and Flex Development team. You can find his answers here.

What is the Open Innovation Programme and what is its general goal?

Part of our task as one of Europe’s largest TSOs is to design and develop a grid that can support our goals for a climate-neutral society. By 2030, we want to create a reliable backbone for our target grid, with transport capacities matching the decarbonisation and electrification plans of industry, households and transport. We have to design our projects to be future-proof, building grids with extra capacity factored in ahead of time to ensure a secure (green) electricity supply for all sectors of the economy.

For this to happen, we need to work closely with partners in the value chain and market parties that wish to contribute to shaping the network of the future. We are pleased to announce that distribution network companies Alliander, Enexis and Stedin are collaborating with us in this programme, as common challenges require a joint effort to guarantee a future-proof network. Collaboration is key to unlocking the potential of the existing grid and accommodating future needs. To this end, we’re launching our first Open Innovation Programme to address the question “How can we make optimal use of the transport capacity and connection points to the electricity grid?”

With the open innovation challenge we want to activate external innovation power to collaborate with TenneT. We are looking for innovative proposals with innovative solutions. Proposals could include smart technological solutions, more flexibility in the grid, managing grid congestion, informing customers (including educating and training them), adapting laws and regulations or adjusting tariffs.

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What was your role during the kick-off event and what was your impression of the event?

The kick-off of the open innovation program was rather inspiring. Over 140 registrations from different organizations were received. Unfortunately we only had the space to welcome a maximum of 100 participants during this program. The ambiance was great and many inspiring ideas were already shared by the participants as well.

My role during the kickoff was to be available for questions of the participants. We have had many inspiring conversations already and are of high expectations to the hand in proposals.

In the next phase of the program a panel of experts, including me, will review the received proposals. The 5 winning proposals will go to the next round in this intensive open innovation program!

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What positive implications for TenneT could ensue from the programme / from the kick-off event?

We are operating, building, and maintaining the grid in challenging times. This requires focus, and doing the right things to prepare and build the target grid of 2050. However, the world around us is moving in a fast pace as well. Apart from focussing on our key tasks, we have to make time available to listen to the outside world and to include ideas and collaborate to speed up our delivery pace. With the open innovation program external ideas and innovative solutions can be brought in to the organization and lead to new partnerships and innovation.

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Can readers still hand in their solution?

Yes they can! Although the kickoff has taken place already it is available online to stream the presentations at home. Handing in innovative solutions matching our challenge is still possible and open for everyone who is interested. Hand in your solutions here!

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