A revolution is happening in local electricity networks, as more local and domestic generation is connected, users start to generate and trade their own power, and new technologies such as electric vehicles and batteries are connected and used. Now the electricity networks have to change so they can allow that revolution take place.
Development is being taken forward by the Open Networks project and it has opened a consultation on the system architecture for new, responsive local networks. How should existing distribution network operators act in future and what should be their role? Can other organisations take on some activities? How should operating the local electricity system be integrated with the national high voltage system operator?
The Open Network project seeks views on these issues and others, based around five different views of the future. In the models, which were developed through a series of stakeholder workshops, traditional forms of infrastructure will work alongside new consumer technologies such as electric vehicles, smart meters, battery storage and solar panels.
The options for changing local electricity networks under discussion are:
- World A: DSO coordinates – a world where the DSO acts as the neutral market facilitator for all DER and provides services on a locational basis to National Grid in its role as the Electricity System Operator (ESO). This model can be accessed here.
- World B: Co-ordinated DSO - ESO procurement and dispatch – a world where DSO and ESO work together to efficiently manage networks through coordinated procurement and dispatch of flexibility resources. This model can be accessed here.
- World C: Price driven flexibility – a world where changes developed through Ofgem’s Reform of electricity network access and forward-looking charges’ have improved access arrangements and forward looking signals for customers. This model can be accessed here.
- World D: ESO coordinates – a world where the ESO is the counterparty for DER with DSO’s informing the ESO of their requirements. This model can be accessed here.
- World E: Flexibility coordinator(s) – a world where new national (or potentially regional) third party(ies) act as the neutral market facilitator(s) for DER providing efficient services to the ESO and/or DSO as required. This model can be accessed here
During the consultation, which will be open until 25 September, there will be two meetings and two webinars for more information – sign up on the consultation page