Future Worlds: Consultation


As one of the key deliverables from Open Networks Workstream 3, ‘Future Worlds’ is the output of a substantial stakeholder engagement process to map and describe a number of potential future electricity networks (“Future Worlds”) capable of supporting the smart decentralised energy industry that the UK is transitioning towards. At this stage we do not seek to recommend any particular Future World but instead to understand them, creating a common view of how each works allowing informed debate and decisions to follow.

Recognising the varied nature of our stakeholders we want to hear your thoughts on the Worlds. We are taking a layered approach to the presentation of our work;

  • A high level consultation document summarising the ‘Future Worlds’ and presenting key impacts through the lens of different stakeholder groups.
  • A more detailed modelling report providing further context on the methodology we have employed and the results obtained.
  • HTML links to the Smart Grid Architecture Models (SGAM) for each of the five Future Worlds developed, allowing stakeholders to view and comment on our work.

The ‘Futures Worlds’ consultation document

The ‘Future Worlds’ consultation document describes our work to date and our proposed next steps.  This includes;

  • A description of the five Future Worlds
  • A high level summary of the methodology employed to build the Smart Grid Architecture Models
  • An overview of why the principle of neutral market facilitation is important
  • Key stakeholder insights for each of the 23 actors described in the models
  • Our intended approach to impact assessment modelling of the worlds inviting your views
  • A description of the key enablers needed to deliver the future worlds
  • A summary of our proposed next steps including our work on least regrets analysis

Whilst we’ve produced this document to be as accessible as possible we recognise that it does contain some industry terms. A glossary covering these terms is available here

The ‘Futures Worlds’ consultation responses

In response to the Open Networks: Future Worlds consultation, which ran from 31st July to 25th September 2018, ENA received 47 responses addressing the questions posed within the document. These were submitted by a broad range of stakeholders and provided valuable insight from a variety of perspectives on the issues, questions and scenarios posed in the consultation. We are now progressing an independent assessment of the relative costs and benefits of the Future Worlds from the consultation, through impact assessments, using the input received from stakeholders. A consultation will be held in Q1 2019 on these impact assessments to gain further feedback. Listed below are the full written responses from the stakeholders. A summary of the responses received was provided to the project's Advisory Group and can be viewed here.



Banks Group



Catapult ES


Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice Scotland


EDF Energy

Edinburgh Community Solar Coop





Energy UK











Menton Energy

National Grid ESO

Northern Powergrid

NPower & Innogy




Renewable UK & Scottish Renewables


Scottish Power








University of Strathclyde (PNDC)

University of Strathclyde

UK Power Reserve

University of Southhampton



The Smart Grid Architecture Models

In 2017 the Open Networks Project developed five Smart Grid Architecture Models (SGAM) of potential future industry structures (Future Worlds). These worlds built on the models developed in the Open Networks Project’s Commercial Principles Paper, but were expanded greatly to consider a range of industry functions and activities.

A series of public stakeholder workshops were used to develop the worlds. A summary of the methodology employed and the results obtained can be found in the report.

Additionally, we are keen to ensure this modelling is transparent and accessible for all stakeholders. Below are HTML links to each of the five Future Worlds. These can be accessed via standard internet access without the need for specialist software. We have also provided user guides for the models via both video and written format, see links below.

To view the written 'user guide', click here.

The five models developed 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

How to find out more

The opportunities and implications of these electricity network proposals are significant societally, commercially and technically, and we recognise it is important that to get responses from a wide variety of interested parties, to inform the further development of these Future Worlds. We therefore opted to use a variety of means to reach out to stakeholders during the consultation period, which ran between 31st July 2018 and 25th September 2018. These include;

  • Two dedicated stakeholder events, in London (3rd September) and Edinburgh (29th August), where stakeholders were able to engage directly with the ENA and its Members, as well as the EA Technology Team and the SGAM models that form the basis of this work.

Stakeholder Events

Edinburgh - 29th August 2018

London - 3rd September 2018


Webinar 1 - 21st August 2018 

Webinar 2 - 13th September 2018

We are also happy to talk directly with parties or organisations to provide further clarity and information on our work. Please contact ([email protected]) if you would like such an opportunity.