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​Great Britain must 'hone and optimise network flexibility', says Cornwall Insight

Image: Ian Taylor

Image: Ian Taylor

Great Britain must “hone and optimise network flexibility” as decarbonisation objectives ramp up, according to a new report from Cornwall Insight.

The Market design amidst global energy transition report looks at representative case studies of the impact of decarbonisation on congestion, constraints and network access in GB, Ireland and Australia.

Lessons can be learnt by looking at all three markets, according to Cornwall Insight Australia senior consultant Lumi Adisa.

“Notwithstanding differences in market designs, these markets face similar challenges in integrating unprecedented levels of intermittent generation – some of which is already connected to the grid with more seeking to connect."

A key challenge lies with transmission grids. In Great Britain, the grid is facing a number of struggles, including meeting demand in remote areas such as in Northern Scotland, where low consumer numbers together with long connection lengths make costs significantly different to other regions.

Gareth Miller, CEO of Cornwall Insight, said that across all three markets, renewable projects are often located away from the traditional infrastructure that is closer to demand, and as renewables continue to grow "the networks will need to transition from being demand-centric to more supply orientated".

“Both system operators and stakeholders will need to continually evaluate their market structures and designs to alleviate issues surrounding locational congestion and grid stability. Each market is at very different stages in the process in trying to improve any problems implementing solutions to allow for higher efficiencies in renewable energy integration.

“It is uncertain whether any of the proposed changes will fundamentally resolve the issues that come with increased renewables on the system. However, despite marked differences, they certainly could all learn from each other and elements of their network arrangements," Miller continued.

The report also highlights the benefits of interconnectors, the increasing capacity of renewables, price cannibalisation and how unit charges are rising.

It concludes that as the three markets are set to see increasing levels of low carbon generation, system operators and stakeholders are likely to "continually evaluate their respective market structures and designs in order to cope with and alleviate issues around locational congestion and grid stability in the presence of high volumes of renewable technologies".

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