Decarbonisation and decentralisation are transforming our electricity system. In 2018, 52.8% of our electricity was generated by low carbon sources, and much of this low carbon generation capacity is connected at the distribution network.
Parliament recently legislated to require us to target net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. This will require us to increase our efforts even further. To remain fit for purpose in this transforming system, energy networks will need to evolve too. Flexibility will be crucial, facilitating significant deployment of renewables, electrified transport and, potentially, electrified heat. Research has shown that a smarter and more flexible system could save the UK £17-40bn by 2050, and many of these benefits will be realised at the distribution level.
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) Open Networks Project launched in January 2017 to lay the foundations of a smarter energy grid in the UK. BEIS and Ofgem recently wrote an open letter to the ENA setting out their views on how the initiative could better deliver a smarter and more flexible energy system. They acknowledge the Open Networks Project is a useful vehicle for improved coordination across network and system operators and for delivering change as part of the energy transition. They welcome the progress made to date, and are keen that progress continues and tangible changes are implemented, but state that further change is required to deliver their joint vision of an energy system fit for the future.
In the letter, they set out a list of clear actions for network and system operators, including:
- Standardising flexibility procurement across network and system operators;
- Demonstrating transparency in evaluating flexibility tenders;
- Providing clear information on current and future system needs;
- Setting out a clear roadmap for data transparency, taking into account recommendations from the Energy Data Taskforce;
- Improving the availability of network information in an interoperable format.
A copy of the open letter can be found here:
Please note: Tendering activity recommenced at points this week whilst the energy markets dropped. However the markets are still volatile. We will continue to monitor them and update you accordingly.
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