Britain’s electricity network companies have taken a significant step to power the way forward to Net Zero by making it easier for generating customers and flexibility service providers to connect to their networks. They will benefit from greater transparency and access to information that will help them to connect to the networks and avoid paying for possible costly reinforcement.
The electricity network companies have worked together through the Open Networks Project to launch System Wide Resource Registers, which will give the entire industry more information about connected generation over 1MW.
The new registers present a standardised set of data across all the electricity network companies to customers, highlighting demand and presenting more opportunities for all stakeholders – including community groups, renewables projects, and large aggregators – to innovate with their investments, provide clean energy, and avoid building costly reinforcement.
Spearheaded through the Open Networks Project, the registers published by all Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) detail generation projects, storage facilities, and larger demands that are providing flexibility services of 1MW and greater to their networks. This includes wind and solar power, vital to help Britain reach Net Zero.
Containing data for over 5,000 connected assets, the information will also give a more complete network view to National Grid ESO of network generation capacity to help ensure a secure supply of the low carbon energy we rely on every day.
Information on resource types, locations, and capacities for those resources that are already connected to distribution networks or that have accepted connection agreements in place are all detailed. Information is also included on flexibility services that are being provided to the distribution network companies.
These new registers are produced in a standard format across the country, helping to harmonize local markets and give customers the best experience no matter the location. The data provided will make it easier for customers to explore new opportunities and enter new markets to maximise the benefit of low-carbon technologies.
The resource registers will be updated on a monthly basis by each of the network companies, with the scope of the registers being further enhanced later this year with information about the network reinforcements required to connect new resources. The registers have also been developed alongside a network code modification which seeks to improve data transparency further giving customers even better information on network opportunities.
Commenting on the release, David Smith, Chief Executive of ENA, said:
Innovation and investment from the electricity network companies have already helped to make the UK a superpower of renewable energy. Harnessing the power of data, improving transparency, and harmonising processes across the country is another step forward to help us deliver the low carbon, smart grid that the public need.
The publication of the System Wide Resource Registers will make connecting to the networks easier across the country, highlighting new opportunities for clean energy projects, delivering value for the public and securing our energy into the future.
Notes to editor
- 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 in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
- Distributed Energy Resources (DER) are smaller scale generation, demand, or storage resources connected to the distribution network. Examples include:
- Solar PV
- Offshore and onshore wind power generation
- Battery storage
- The System Wide Resources registers have all been published by all Distribution Network Operators and links have been provided on the ENA website, here.
- The System Wide Resource Registers are being developed alongside code modification DCUSA DCP 350, to require the DNOs to create a national, public register of all sites that use their networks and influence the operation of the GB power market. The Register would contain details of each connected site and would be kept up to date by the DNOs.
- 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.
- The Open Networks Project recently launched its 2020 Work Plan consultation, which will run from 21 January to 17 March 2020. More information, including the consultation document, can be found here. Completed responses should be sent to email@example.com.
- The 2019 End of Year review is available here, and the 2020 Project Initiation Document can be downloaded here.
- In 2019 ENA released their response to a joint BEIS and Ofgem open letter on Open Networks and its priorities for 2020. The full response can be found here.
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.
ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.
Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.
What are energy network operators?
Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).