Energy Networks Association’s (ENA) Open Networks Project launched a consultation this week, seeking views on how to create a smart electricity grid that enables opportunities for distributed energy technologies.
The paper published this week summarises five key considerations that need to be addressed to ensure that distributed energy technologies such as battery storage, solar panels and services such as electric vehicle to grid demand response, can provide services in a way that improves network coordination and reduces system costs.
The consultation looks at how our the UK energy system can maximise the use of DER assets, deliver access to markets, encourage new business models, and maximise the benefits of competition and third-party involvement.
In a release, the ENA said that greater innovation and competition in the markets keeps the costs of operating and maintaining the energy networks down. The benefits can be shared with customers both through cost savings but also through new technologies and services that allow them to benefit directly from a smarter electricity grid. In the current energy network price control period (2015-2023), local electricity networks are forecast to deliver almost £1billion of savings as result of innovation.
Role of the DSO
The paper also looks to develop the distribution system operator (DSO) role by outlining different models for how the DSO will interact with the transmission operator and DERs. According to the association, the evolution of the DSO role will be a crucial part of the smart energy system, a platform for new technologies, and is a priority for the Open Networks Project. [ENA initiative redefines role of UK DSOs]
CEO of Energy Networks Association David Smith commented: “The smart grid transition has the potential to create a whole new range of market opportunities for new technology and service providers, many of whom will be participating in the UK market place for the first time.
"Our energy networks increasingly need to access the latest technologies and services in order to ensure continued reliable and cost-effective electricity supply as part of a decarbonised system. This paper is about ensuring they have the access to those things, but also about how we can ensure that we make the most of the smart transition for those companies providing them.”