MyGridGB is a new product being developed in the North East, which provides a breakdown of the different methods of energy production supplying the UK. Brian Matthews, Business Development Lead, explains how the team has accessed new networks through the North East Energy Catalyst’s Energy Innovation Challenge, and how he hopes MyGridGB will empower future generations to help tackle climate change.
Can you tell us a bit about MyGridGB?
MyGridGB provides a simple, visual way of showing where the UK’s energy is coming from – so, what proportion is currently being provided through wind, solar, gas or nuclear power, for example.
It’s an information system and also an educational tool, as people can create their own models for the UK energy grid and see the impact that has on our C02 emissions.
It’s like energy sector Lego: you put the building blocks together and see what the outcome is. Can your model produce enough energy to power the UK? How much will the energy cost? What will it mean for people’s power bills and for C02 emissions?
What energy challenge does your product help to solve?
One of the biggest challenges we have is that people don’t understand where their energy comes from. MyGridGB helps people to be more informed and to make more educated choices about energy – choices that aren’t just driven by cost.
It gets people thinking about how we can decarbonise energy in the UK and it starts conversations as people see the impact of steps that we can all take to help achieve our C02 targets. It’s about engaging young people at the right age and giving them knowledge that enables them to make decisions that will impact climate change.
People knowing where their energy comes from can only be a good thing and I hope this knowledge will also inspire more young people to become involved in the energy sector in the future.
Why did you get involved with the North East Energy Catalyst’s Energy Innovation Challenge?
One of the benefits of entering the Energy Innovation Challenge is that it acts as an independent feasibility test of your product. That external viewpoint is really important, as you don’t always get that when you’re so close to a product that you’ve been developing.
Being involved with the challenge also gives you visibility of what’s available in terms of finance and funding, which can be quite difficult to do on your own, as well as access to business and leadership development programmes.
And it’s a way to quickly and easily develop your network within the energy sector, which has a Silicon Valley-style incubator effect as more people work together.
What’s next for MyGridGB?
Our aim is to look at how we can make MyGridBG into an app that can be used in schools, colleges and universities to help engage young people with climate change.
It has the potential to help educate people from a young age, through to providing more complex data for university studies.
We’re now looking to make links with North East app developers as we’re based in the North East and we want to develop links with others in the region, spend our money here and help to generate a circular economy.
MyGridGB has been developed by Andrew Crossland and is supported by the Durham Energy Institute.
The Energy Innovation Challenge (round 3) is open for entries until Friday 26 February and SMEs are invited to put forward applications based on the use of materials in any aspect of electricity, gas and water infrastructure, such as pipes, valves or cables.