Energy-smart places: delivering net zero

Catch up on this inspiring event which explored the Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme, discussed issues around locally-integrated energy approaches, and looked to the future.

Event Details


09.00 - 17.00


Manchester & Online

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In February 2023, Innovate UK and EPSRC hosted a high-profile conference and exhibition in Manchester to mark the conclusion of the Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme.

The one-day event brought together many of the projects funded by the programme, with a host of other experts and commentators on smart local energy systems and their role in the journey to net zero.

With an audience of over 500, the day aimed to showcase the experiences and stories of the projects, share insights on what has been achieved and learnt, and create a springboard for rollout of local and regional approaches to energy in the future.

This is the moment to sell people a different vision of how energy could be in the future.

– Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

You can catch up here with all the day’s main presentations and discussions.

  • Host Yewande Akinola introduces the day, followed by a powerful keynote from Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester.

    Next Rob Saunders, director of the Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme, tells the story of its five-year journey and examines its achievements and findings with a panel of the programme’s leaders and advisers.


    • Rebecca Ford, Research Director, EnergyRev
    • Polly Billington, CEO, UK100
    • Simon Harrison, Global Head of Strategy, Mott MacDonald
    • Guy Newey, Chief Executive, Energy Systems Catapult
  • From Rugeley to Oxford, from Manchester to Orkney, every place is different. This session explored why taking a place-based approach to energy alongside national strategies is vital, and how tailoring solutions to places is cheaper, more effective, and leads to better outcomes for citizens than a purely national ‘one size fits all’ approach.


    • Dan Dowling, Partner, PwC (chair)
    • Patrick Allcorn, Head of Local Net Zero, Energy Security and Net Zero
    • Mairi Brookes, Smart Energy Systems Director, Low Carbon Hub
    • Louise Alter, Energy Innovation Manager, Equans
    • Stephen Lorimer, Manager, Clean Energy Cities, Centre for Net Zero (powered by Octopus Energy)
    • Jonathan Atkinson, Co-founder, Carbon Co-op

    Followed by:

    Innovate UK and the way to Net Zero
    Mike Biddle, Executive Director, Net Zero, Innovate UK

    Outlines the scope and urgency of Innovate UK’s work to enable progress towards Net Zero through innovation.

  • The energy system is decarbonising, with smart energy assets increasingly installed in people’s homes, communities and businesses. But energy policies and regulations are still designed around a centralised, large-asset perspective. This session discussed what changes might be needed to deliver net zero at pace, whilst delivering compelling customer propositions.


    • Jeff Hardy, The Grantham Institute (chair)
    • Fiona Campbell, Head of DSO Governance, Ofgem
    • Caroline Bragg, Director of Policy and Research, The Association for Decentralised Energy
    • Mark Hamilton, Managing Director (Solo Energy) SMS Plc.
    • Michael Kenefick, Senior Grid Services Manager, EV.Energy
  • The investment required to get us to net zero is unprecedented, and the pace at which it will be needed extraordinary. Prospering from the Energy Revolution projects have been at the forefront of exploring the opportunities and barriers to securing investment. Here, experts and practitioners look at issues and prospects for smart local energy system finance.


    • Cheryl Hiles, West Midlands Energy Capital (chair)
    • Monika Paplaczyk, Thrive Renewables
    • Anna Cartwright, Managing Director Local Authority Lending and Advisory, UK Investment Bank
    • Dan Dowling. Partner, Net Zero, Cities & Sustainability, PwC
  • Local authorities are key local convenors for smart local energy systems. This session featured voices from the front line: projects from the Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme in which local authorities have played a central role delivering impactful and successful outcomes.


    • Polly Billington, CEO, UK100 (chair)
    • Olivia Blunn, Head of Local Net Zero Policy, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero
    • Inga Doherty, Energy Insights Lead, Oxfordshire County Council
    • Sean Owen, Head of Low Carbon, Greater Manchester Combined Authority
    • Jan Webb, Professorial Fellow, Social and Political Science, Edinburgh University
    • Tina Mould, Innovation Programme Team Manager, Oxford City Council
  • The Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme has dramatically advanced understanding of the potential of smart local energy systems, as well as the barriers. This final main stage session looked at the main insights from the day – and asked what can we all do next, in our own fields, to build on this momentum and unlock the opportunities of local energy approaches in future?


    Polly Billington, Cheryl Hiles, Jeff Hardy and Dan Dowling, together with Jodie Giles, Head of Innovation, Prospering from the Energy Revolution challenge, Innovate UK.

  • Discover the work of the Energy Systems Catapult as part of the Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme. Includes guidance on local area energy planning, the Energy Revolution Integration Service (ERIS), the Net Zero Go platform and evaluation work on smart local energy systems projects.

    Speakers (all from the Energy Systems Catapult):

    • Tim German, Senior Strategic Relationship Manager (chair)
    • Andrew Clark, Business Lead for Place
    • Gordon Graham, Head of ERIS
    • Rebecca Lovell, Business Model Consultant
  • An expert panel session looking back at the journey of data in energy since the publication of the Energy Data Taskforce recommendations in 2019. How far have we come, how has innovation benefited, and what needs to happen next?


    • Greg Johnson, Senior Digital and Data Consultant, Energy Systems Catapult (chair)
    • Christopher Jackson, Co-founder, Advanced Infrastructure Technology
    • Angela Baker, Data Assurance Programme Lead, Open Data Institute
    • Gea Mikic, Co-founder and Programme Director, Icebreaker One
    • Doug Cook, Deputy Director, Digitalisation and Decentralisation, Ofgem (in place of Heather Swan)
  • As the energy system decarbonises, digitalisation will be increasingly important to ensure that we have a secure, affordable energy supply whilst delivering improved outcomes. This expert panel (after a false start due to a fire alarm) discusses activities to digitalise the sector, and looks forward to the next steps in realising a net zero digitalised energy system.


    • Richard Dobson, Head of Digital and Data, Energy Systems Catapult (chair)
    • James Morgan, Head of Energy Digitalisation, Dept for Energy Security and Net Zero
    • Peter Dudfield, Head of Technology, Open Climate Fix
    • Lucy Yu, Chief Executive, Centre for Net Zero (powered by Octopus Energy)
    • Matt Fawcett, Co-founder, Carbon Co-op
    • Teodora Kaneva, Head of Smart Infrastructure and Systems, techUK

Related programme

Enabling smart local energy systems

Enabling smart local energy systems

We live, work and travel in regions, cites, towns and communities, but energy systems are still very centralised. UKRI’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme explored the potential of smart local energy systems and place-based approaches. Discover learnings and insights from the £104m, five-year programme.


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