On August 1st Energy Networks Association’s Open Networks Project launched a major new consultation on electricity networks’ plans to deliver a smarter, more flexible and more decentralised energy system, a change which could save consumers as much as £40bn by 2050.
Ofgem, BEIS, and all 10 of UK and Ireland’s electricity network operators are part of the industry-wide project, which is laying the foundations of the smart grid in Great Britain by redefining the way electricity networks work. The project will also inform similar developments in the Single Electricity Market in Ireland.
The consultation published today seeks industry views on five models – the ‘Future Worlds’ – for delivering this change, presenting a wide range of options for the structure of electricity networks that go beyond those proposals made by the recent Cost of Energy Review. In all five worlds, traditional forms of infrastructure such as pylons and substations will have to work alongside smart energy flexibility services to manage the electricity grid, that use new consumer technologies such as electric vehicles, smart meters, battery storage and solar panels. Research conducted by Imperial College London and The Carbon Trust shows that these services could deliver up to £40bn of benefits across the energy system by 2050.
The Future Worlds, developed through a series of stakeholder workshops, range from a decentralised energy system where local electricity grids enable regional energy markets to balance supply and demand at a local level, to a more centralised system where co-ordinating local energy resources is the responsibility of the national System Operator. They also include a world where new independent national or regional organisations, labelled Flexibility Co-ordinators, co-ordinate flexibility services for the electricity networks.
The closing date for submissions is September 25th
Read the consultation ENA_FutureWorlds