Open Networks Project set for biggest year yet

For immediate release 

21st January 2019

2019 is set to be the biggest year yet for Energy Network Association’s Open Networks Project beginning with today’s release of two major publications, the launch of the project’s 2018 Review and a public consultation on the project’s 2019 Phase 3 Work Plan.

It has now been over two years since the start of the Open Networks Project, an industry leading initiative that brings together around 50 industry experts to lay the foundations of the smart grid in Great Britain (GB) and inform future developments in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

As the UK’s energy networks undergo a once-in-a-generation transformation, the project continues to play a vital role in enabling the growth of flexibility services markets at a local, regional and national level, coordinating energy network systems development, delivering best practice guidance and developing the evidence base for decisions about the future. We can expect a major boost to flexibility services markets in 2019 following the launch of the Flexibility Commitment late last year, with local grid operators including smart flexibility services as part of their day-to-day operations.

The Phase 3 Work Plan consultation launched today provides an opportunity for all industry stakeholders - from electricity network users to aggregators and community energy schemes - to consider the full project plans for 2019 and provide feedback on priorities, scope and timelines.

In 2019, the project will expand upon its focus on the future of the whole electricity system by looking across the energy system at gas, heat, transport and waste. In the short-term, the project will continue to enable a staggered roll-out of new standards, procedures and processes.

The project will continue to provide valuable input to wider industry developments, including Ofgem’s Significant Code Review of network charging and access and the Government’s recently established Energy Data Taskforce.

ENA will host an in-depth discussion with leading policymakers on 1 February 2019 to discuss the progress of the Open Networks Project and look ahead to 2019. Key speakers include: David Capper, Head of Future Electricity Systems, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Louise van Rensburg, Interim Deputy Director, Energy Systems Transition, Ofgem.

David Smith, Chief Executive Officer, ENA, said:

“The Open Networks Project is playing a key role in ensuring the wider digital transformation of the energy system, described as the Internet of Energy, benefits the British public, businesses and the UK.

It is set to be the biggest year yet for the Open Networks Project as it continues to lead the industry forward and builds on its focus on the whole electricity system by looking across the energy system at gas, heat, transport and waste.

We can expect a major boost to flexibility services markets in 2019, with the continued growth of smart energy technologies coupled with data to provide flexibility services to the grid, such as energy storage or demand-side response.”

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Notes to editors 

  • ENA is the voice of the networks representing the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.
  • The Open Networks Project brings together GB’s electricity transmission and distribution network companies, including the new National Grid Electricity System Operator, an independent GB distribution network operator and distribution operators from Ireland and Northern Ireland, alongside industry stakeholders, BEIS and the energy regulator, Ofgem.
  • A key achievement for the project in 2018 was the Future Worlds consultation which sought industry feedback on five possible scenarios – the Future Worlds - for the future electricity system. An independent impact assessment comparing the costs and benefits of these five scenarios will be published for consultation in March 2019.
  • In 2018, the project brought together approximately 50 energy industry experts, engaged with hundreds of organisations and attracted close to 300 participants at Future Worlds consultation events and webinars across Great Britain.
  • Great Britain’s local electricity network operators have contracted more than 270 MW in flexibility services, with approximately 65 MW of this flexible generation from distributed energy resources including solar PV. Across the system, 7328 MW has been used for active network management, flexible connections and operational tripping schemes. Updated numbers are expected to be available from early 2019.
  • All responses to the 2019 Phase 3 Work Plan consultation must be submitted electronically to [email protected] by Friday 22 February 2019.
  • A series of public consultations will be held during 2019 to obtain wider feedback in key areas including: the independent impact assessment of the Future Worlds from March 2019; Distribution System Operator (DSO) services market principles from June 2019; and connections queue management from August 2019.

For further information please contact:

Casey Sattler
Press and Public Affairs
[email protected]
[email protected]
T: +44 (0)207 706 5115