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ENA sets out four services for DNOs to use when managing network congestion

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

The Energy Networks Association has identified four real (MW) power services to meet the needs of distribution network operators (DNOs) when managing congestion as the market for local flexibility services continues to emerge.

Unveiled as part of five major publications launched under the Open Networks Project, the document, released this week, looks to define the service requirements of network companies as they transition towards active market facilitators under a Distribution System Operator (DSO) model.

The real power services are all constraint management services differentiated by their timing and means of dispatch; being either pre-fault or post-fault with varying periods of provision and likely frequency of utilisation.

The first - Scheduled Constraint Management – would see the DSO procure an agreed change in input or output over a defined period of time to prevent the network from going beyond its firm capacity. For example, a reduction in demand could be procured over an evening peak period to mitigate the risk of overload that might result should a fault occur on one of two in-feeds to a group.

A Pre-fault Constraint Management service would see the DNO procure the ability to access a pre-agreed change in service provider output based on network conditions close to real-time, either manually or via an automated system.

The ENA’s third power service would see DSOs procure the ability of a service provider to deliver an agreed change in output following a network fault. Done ahead of time, utilisation would be instructed when the fault occurs on the network through an automated system.

The final service would provide restoration support following a loss of supply, when a provider either remains off supply, or reconnects with lower demand, to support increased and faster load restoration under depleted network conditions.

The briefing document comes after many of the UK’s major DNOs have already launched local flexibility markets across their regions, with UK Power Networks being the most advanced. It recently outlined three core products for its future procurement to cover reinforcement referral, plant maintenance and unplanned interruptions to the network.

The ENA published its vision for future services alongside four other documents setting out a range of key terms, definitions and guidelines on how flexibility services can best be connected to the existing grid and used to manage the system smarter and more efficiently.

One concerns an online, country-wide register which could provide a database of energy connections across the UK to help customers decide where to locate new connections. This follows calls for improved availability of information to support business planning & investment decisions along with more efficient procurement of services.

The association has also laid out the findings from a call for evidence on the treatment of flexible resources, including storage, in the connections queue. It found that while the majority of all 16 respondents were supportive of promoting flexibility in queues, as long as the correct processes and controls were in place, EDF, RUK/SR, SSE & UKPR claimed such a concept would be “discriminatory and unfair”.

The call for evidence therefore concluded that the use of flexible resources to unblock queues should be linked to wider service opportunities for flexible resources,

The ENA also provided an update on its Future Worlds consultation, which sought views on a range of market models that could be adopted to unlock the benefits inherent to the ongoing evolution of networks.

Close to 50 responses were submitted to the Open Networks consultation, making it the largest in the project’s history, which will now be reviewed by independent consultants to inform the impact analysis of the options to be completed early next year.

David Smith, chief executive officer, ENA, said: “We are delighted with the response to the Future World’s consultation which demonstrates that there is strong interest in the work being led by the Open Networks Project and industry stakeholders are key to developing this further.”

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