ENA response to letter from BEIS and Ofgem on the Open Networks Project

Responding to BEIS and Ofgem’s letter on the Open Networks Project, David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, says:

“We are grateful for BEIS and Ofgem’s continued support and involvement with the Open Networks Project. In particular, their recognition of the value that the Open Networks Project has provided for delivering change as part of the energy transition, and that the Project has driven a positive step change to open up network needs to competition and support network coordination.

“Decentralisation and a transition to Net Zero is transforming our energy system. ENA and the electricity network operators have already been playing a leading role, not least through the recent voluntary commitment to further encourage and develop new flexibility markets.

“We will shortly be publishing the response to the Future Worlds Impact Assessment which will provide more clarity on the next steps of the transition. We will also be publishing further information about how network companies have been implementing the recommendations from Open Networks, one of the points highlighted in the letter.

"We welcome the clarity from BEIS and Ofgem in highlighting further areas of focus for the Project, which we will reflect in our future work, and look forward to carry on working with all stakeholders to deliver the decentralised, digitalised and decarbonised energy system that the country needs”.

Notes to editors

  • Energy Networks Association represents the companies responsible for operating the ‘wires and pipes’ of Britain’s energy network infrastructure.
  • The Open Networks Project brings together electricity transmission and distribution network companies with industry stakeholders, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the energy regulator Ofgem, to lay the foundations for the smart grid in Great Britain and inform future developments Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
  • Examples of flexibility services include:
    • Households charging their electric vehicles at off-peak times or when it is sunniest, whilst other households’ domestic solar panels are generating electricity.
    • Businesses striking demand-side response agreements to adjust their electricity use at the times of day when they least need it, helping reduce the need and cost of building new infrastructure.
    • Using battery storage to help network operators proactively manage a rapidly changing electricity grid where electricity now flows in many different directions, rather than in just one as it has done in the past.
  • ENA and its members recently launched a new commitment to support flexibility services. The full text of the Flexibility Commitment: Our Six Steps for Delivering Flexibility Services can be found here. The steps adopted will be fundamental in defining how the public, businesses and networks interact in the future by:
    • Championing a level playing field;
    • Ensuring visibility and accessibility;
    • Conducting procurement in an open and transparent manner;
    • Providing clarity on the dispatch of services;
    • Providing regular, consistent and transparent reporting;
    • Working together towards whole energy system outcomes
  • As a world leader in clean energy, this commitment builds on the work of ENA’s Open Networks Project, where the long-term roles and responsibilities of Britain’s local electricity networks are being redefined as new competitive markets for flexibility open up. ENA and its member electricity organisations has worked extensively and inclusively with stakeholders, sharing our flexibility developments and listening to wide reaching feedback at every step to arrive at these commitments.
  • The Open Networks Project is currently consulting on Flexibility Services, looking at creating a uniform customer journey for anyone wishing to connect flexibility services to the networks. The consultation closes on 23rd August.
  • More information on the consultation, including the consultation document, can be found here.