- March 7, 2019
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The Energy Networks Association seeks views on how to design a proper smart grid in UK. The ENA has published detail of the impact assessments and via a consultation, seeks views on its proposed approach (ref. Consultation Document & Deliverables: Future Worlds impact assessment consultation document). Energy Networks Association chief executive said that approach was “pragmatic”, enabling network operators to continue their current trajectory, while “leaving the door open to more radical changes in the future”.
The Open Networks Project presented a range of five potential industry structures, known as Future Worlds, in 2018. These included a decentralized energy system where local electricity grids enable regional energy markets to balance supply and demand at a local level, to a more centralized system where co-ordinating local energy resources is the responsibility of the national System Operator. They also included a world where new independent national or regional organizations co-ordinate flexibility services for the electricity networks
The ENA has published a Baringa Partners impact assessment of the five ‘future world’ scenarios set out last summer.
In short, the association has set out five ‘worlds’, ranging from a system where distribution networks act as system operators and call the shots, to one where the electricity system operator (National Grid) retains command, with stages in between where the regional and national system operators co-ordinate around procurement and dispatch of flexibility.
It also moots a system where a new party, a Flexibility Coordinator, acts as a neutral market, providing services to both distribution networks and the national system operator. The ENA suggested its proposals go beyond those put forward by Dieter Helm in the government commissioned Cost of Energy review. Helm called for the creation of National System Operators (NSOs) and Regional System Operators (RSOs) with licence distinctions between distribution, generation “abandoned at the regional level”.
Under all scenarios put forward by the ENA more flexibility, or demand-side response, will be required to keep the power system stable, as well as network reinforcement i.e. more wires and substations. How the smart grid (or grids) is managed and by whom is the key question for rulemakers and companies responsible for keeping the lights on. The assessment favours ‘world B’ as a least regrets initial pathway.
From your standpoint, what path enables flexibility to play a key role in managing and balancing power networks while giving sufficient scope to diverge to any other ‘worlds’ around 2023?