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DSO transition, data and local flex markets key in Open Networks Project 2020

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has launched a consultation on its 2020 Work Plan for the Open Networks Project.

The project aims to lay the foundations for a smart energy grid in Great Britain and inform future developments in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Priorities for 2020 include advancing local markets for flexibility with standard approaches across the distribution network operators (DNOs) for the Future Energy Scenarios and the procurement and contracting of flexibility services and alignment with ESO markets where possible.

Also building on the work done by the Energy Data Taskforce to enhance transparency through enabling greater data visibility and providing more consistent access to non-confidential data is a priority, as is growing the reach of the project through Community Energy Forums.

The need to tackle the transition to distribution system operators (DSOs) “head on” is also a key focus of the year, with the publication of the DSO Implementation Plan due to be released in the summer.

A clear path to DSO is to be set out this year, highlighting the actions and decisions needed to implement the “vital” transition to a smart grid before 2050.

In 2020, the Open Networks Project plans on increasing the focus on monitoring implementation to ensure it's holding network companies to account for the implementation of outcomes and change from the project.

The project has six workstreams, and is set to focus on delivering standardisation and alignment across all of them in 2020.

Work completed in 2019 on investment planning and forecasting to implement new processess as business-as-usual is to be taken forward as part of the workstream on whole electricity system planning.

Further development is also to occur on coordinating planning approaches in long term forecasting, investment planning, operational forecasting and real-time timescales.

The ENA praised 2019 as a year that saw the project conclude 95% of the products scoped at the beginning of the year, with new flexibility commitments, increased transparency of data through a System Wide Resource Register and agreed improvements to connections for consumers helping build “strong momentum for 2020”.

David Smith, chief executive of the ENA, said the project is playing a “pivotal role” in supporting the move towards a low carbon future and is looking forward to working with the whole industry to deliver “this major change”.

“We need to build on existing successes and drive forward change that will improve transparency, boost new flexibility markets, and support community energy projects,” Smith continued.

The consultation closes on 17 March 2020. Further information can be found here.

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