DNOs commit to flexibility charter

All six UK Distribution Network Operators have signed-up to a charter committing them to working towards a flexible supply infrastructure.

The Commitment, released by the Energy Networks Association (ENA), states that all six DNOs – SSE Power Distribution, SP Energy Networks, Northern Powergrid, Electricity North West, Western Power Distribution and UK Power Networks – have agreed to the key principles of a flexible distribution network.

The principles are:

  • Any new electricity network infrastructure projects “of significant value” will include smart flexibility service markets as part of daily operation. This applies to all projects where local operators face grid infrastructure congestion as a result of increased demand and/or connection of distributed energy projects.
  • Significant new projects being openly market-tested to compare relevant reinforcement and market flexibility solutions.
  • Working with stakeholders, including Ofgem, to ensure the imminent RIIO-2 pricing framework incentivises flexibility services over new infrastructure development, if flexibility is more efficient approach.    

Safety and flexibility

According to the ENA commitment: “Britain’s energy network operators are committed to creating a smarter, more flexible and more efficient energy system, whilst continuing to provide safe, reliable, affordable energy supply to all of our communities across the country.”

The document goes on to state that the DNOs have already taken significant strides in favouring third-party, smart technology-based flexibility services where those services are proven to deliver greater value than the traditional solution of reinforcing, upgrading or building new infrastructure such as transformers and substations.  This has been encouraged by the current RIIO framework and Open Networks Project.

Equally, while encouraging greater efficiency, the ENA was keen to point out that the ongoing testing of flexibility services has also focused on ensuring the safety and security of the energy network.