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Dedicated community energy forum informs Flexibility consultation

08 September 2020

Working with community energy experts Regen and Community Energy England, ENA's Community Energy Forums brought together community groups from across the country to learn more about the transformation of the energy networks. 


ENA's series of Community Energy Forums kicked off this week with community energy groups letting ENA know their collective view on flexibility, forming a community energy collective response to the Open Networks project consultation. The community groups in attendance also heard about the Gas Goes Green project, innovation, and the Data Working Group.

The attendees gave their view on how Open Networks has standardised flexibility markets, the procurement processes for flexibility, residential flexibility, and how to work together to reach net zero. Community energy groups are passionate about securing a low carbon future, and the networks want to get them more involved in the projects that will help the UK deliver on our climate objectives.

Two initial roundtables were held by the Open Networks project in summer 2019 and community groups wanted to learn more about the projects focus on flexibility and how they can get involved in local flexibility markets. This community energy forum was scheduled to be within the consultation period so a collective community energy consultation response could be fed directly into the project.

Working on the events with community energy experts Regen and Community Energy England, ENA was able to bring together community representatives from across the country and representing a mix of projects and groups in all DNO license areas. The decarbonised energy future is as much local as it is national, and network companies are already working with local homes, businesses, and communities to ensure a lower cost, resilient, zero carbon energy system that leaves nobody behind. These forums provide a further chance for this key part of the industry to be a part of Britain’s vital energy transition to a smart grid.

Two more Community Energy Forums are planned for October, with more community energy groups providing their thoughts and expertise to the networks.

Notes to editor

  • Energy Networks Association’s 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 in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
  • The flexibility consultation document has been published on our website, and more information including detailed product information is available on our public consultations page.
  • To complement the consultation, the Project is holding two webinars. The second flexibility webinar is on 9 September, 14:00 - 15:00, register to attend 
  • The new interactive DSO Implementation Plan is available to view here.
  • The latest round of collated flexibility procurement figures is available on our Flexibility in GB page
  • 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.

About us

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the energy networks. Our members include every major electricity network operator in the UK. The electricity networks are at the heart of the energy transition. They directly employ more than 26,000 people in the UK, including 1,500 apprentices. They are spending and investing £33bn in our electricity grids over the coming years, to ensure safe, reliable and secure energy supplies for the millions of homes and businesses reliant on power every day.

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