We asked our speakers the below questions, ahead of the Network Asset Performance Conference 2021, find out how they responded...
What can we expect from your contribution at the Utility Week Network Asset Performance Conference 2021?
Perhaps a slightly different perspective as a state owned operator, with a requirement to deliver optimum value for our ultimate shareholders, the people of Ireland, rather than simply shareholder value in a traditional sense as profit, equity or dividend.
What are the biggest challenges facing the industry at the moment in your opinion?
Across gas and electricity, realizing the optimum solution for energy system futures and plotting a pathway that embraces what is best available technology now, while working towards tomorrow. Hydrogen won’t solve decarbonisation issues immediately and certainly not without parallel carbon storage. Today, is more about the right solutions in the right situations, e.g. delivering biomethane to displace natural gas, oil heating, etc for some housing stock, but deep retrofits, heat pumps, etc for others – the two technologies shouldn’t necessarily compete, the goal should be maximum decarbonisation.
What innovations in the sector are you particularly excited about?
I oscillate between being excited my hydrogen and wondering why it is taking us so long, I think evolution in CCS is what will really unlock progress in this area. Beyond decarbonization, accurate ground penetrating radar is something that would really excite me as its scandalous the amount of third party damage to buried infrastructure that goes on. So accurate location and damage limiting excavation tools is great for our industry as it will limit interruptions, reduce accidents, maybe save lives but certainly save money.
Why do you think that the Utility Week Network Asset Performance Conference is an important meeting?
All industry meetings are good, the wider the audience the better, we are all expert in our fields but none of us know it all or have encountered all problems and solutions. The Utility Week Network Asset Performance Conference brings a group of people with shared and new experiences together and we generally leave more enlightened and less frustrated than when we arrived.