Forecasting technology take-up and change isn’t easy. In 1914, everyone believed the future of public transport in London would be electric trams. By 1952, the last London electric tram ceased to run. Since we started out in the mid 1940s, we’ve had to think about and plan for how progress changes energy demand. Imagine if we had decided that TVs weren’t going to take off in the 1950s – just before 20m people watched the Coronation live. Who would have thought the 1980s brick that was a ‘carphone’ would spin off and cannibalise calculators and cameras to change human behaviour in so many ways?

As an innovative company, just waiting and seeing isn’t something we do. We must plan for what might happen in energy use between now and 2023 and beyond. We don’t like the idea of a future where electricity demands by time, place or capability can’t be met. Or a future where human and environmental progress is held back.

That is why we are piloting the future now. We are testing, partnering and experimenting with a number of initiatives (many of them supported by Ofgem). We are thinking now about the implications when more homes or communities will generate their own renewable energy and thus change local energy supply and demand. How electric cars will change behaviour and electricity usage in the future is something we are thinking about now. We do it by piloting the future in real places, with real people and real businesses across the UK.

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MY ELECTRIC AVENUE

Do you want to join My Electric Avenue? We need ten ‘electric avenues’ – groups of ten people or more – where each person will drive an electric car for 18 months to trial the new technology. For more details, visit the My Electric Avenue websiteOur partners include: Nissan, EA Technology, Fleet Drive Electric, Zero Carbon Futures, Northern Power Grids.

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THAMES VALLEY VISION

A £30 million partnership project to forecast the energy needs of a low carbon future. For more details, visit the Thames Valley Vision websiteOur partners include: General Electric, Bracknell Forest Council, Honeywell, EA Technology, University of Reading, KEMA DNV.

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NORTHERN ISLES NEW ENERGY SOLUTIONS (NINES)

A £45 million project to forecast how electricity and the grid can be managed more effectively in remote locations. For more details, watch our videoOur partners include: University of Strathclyde, Shetland Heat Energy & Power, Hjatland Housing Association, Smarter Grid Solutions.

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POWER NETWORK DEMONSTRATION CENTRE

Smart grid research centre powers ahead in Cumbernauld. For more details, read our press releaseOur partners include: University of Strathclyde, Scottish Power, Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise.