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Energy Networks Association opens up 2018 workplan for consultation

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The Open Networks project from the Energy Networks Association (ENA) is calling for views on its 2018 workplan through the issuing of a consultation, which sets out the ‘significantly larger’ body of work set for the current year.

Backed by government, the Open Networks project was launched in January 2017 to lay the groundwork for the UK’s emerging smart grid, bringing together ten network companies across the UK and Ireland.

Where the first year focused on defining the principles of the project across transmission and distribution networks, 2018’s work will focus on implementation of process improvements; further trials to test the functionality of the more active Distribution System Operator (DSO) model, providing a robust evidence base for the future; and support to any regulatory changes that might be required to allow implementation of preferred DSO models.

The consultation details project priorities, scope, time-scales and those areas where further consultation is proposed through the year. In total the 2018 workplan hopes to deliver 29 products throughout the year in four key areas:

  1. Investment processes within a whole system approach
  2. Reliability standards and emergency requirements, ensuring that emerging whole system investment and operational processes maintain security of supply across transmission and distribution networks
  3. Information on flexibility services, including a review of how information should be provided to customers on potential network requirements for flexibility services
  4. Continued modelling and analysis on future DSO market models using the Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM) Framework.

David Smith, chief executive of the ENA, said: “The Open Networks Project has, from the start, been designed to be adaptable and flexible in response to feedback from stakeholders. This consultation continues that process into 2018, and indicates our commitment to carrying out extensive and comprehensive assessment of the transmission-distribution interactions and future DSO functionality.”

Since it was launched, the Open Networks project has set out to ensure that the industry is engaged as fully as possible.

Speaking at October’s Low Carbon Networks & Innovation Conference, project chair and network strategy and innovation manager at Western Power Distribution (WPD) Nigel Turvey said customer experience was key to the success of the project, meaning collaboration across the system was essential.

Randolph Brazier, ENA head of innovation and development, echoed this point and said: “We are looking for feedback primarily on whether the right areas have been identified, but also on how stakeholders would like to provide their input to the project and how they want to be kept informed of developments in the future.

“This is an opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback directly to us on areas that they feel might need looking at sooner rather than later, or identify areas they feel are missing. Gap analysis and stakeholder review carried out during 2017 allowed us to identify new products, so stakeholder feedback really is essential to the success of the overall project.”

Respondents can submit feedback electronically to until 23 February 2018, and a webinar, open to all interested parties, is planned for 15 February with the project leaders to discuss the consultation.

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