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Flexible energy projects could jump connection queues under network ‘modernisation’ plans

Image: Anesco.

Image: Anesco.

Flexible energy projects could be fast-tracked through the connections queue as part of plans to “modernise” the way connection requests are handled.

The Energy Networks Association, as part of its Open Networks Project, has unveiled a number of new proposals within a consultation on application interactivity and connection queue management which outlines plans to make it easier for more flexible energy projects to connect to the grid.

It said the consultation was a response to feedback from stakeholders and to deliver on elements of the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, intended to make it easier and quicker for customers to connect to the grid.

It includes plans to “modernise” the connections queue and standardising processes across all networks and allowing applications to be fast-tracked or moved down based on network needs and capacity.

This would open the door for more flexible energy projects to effectively queue jump should network operators deem them of higher value than others in the queue, a move which is aimed at alleviating network constraints and allowing more clean energy to connect.

Until now, connections queue management has relied almost entirely on a ‘first to contract, first to connect’ principle, but stakeholders have expressed concern that this is method is no longer fit for purpose given the influx of renewable generators and emerging technologies.

Launched yesterday (31 July 2019), the consultation is to run until 25 September.

David Smith, chief executive at the ENA, said: “The Open Networks Project is leading the way on our much needed transition to the smart grid, looking at ways we can speed up connections, encourage new flexible energy markets and deliver Net Zero.

“The record amounts of investment in Britain’s energy system has led to savings, and record levels of reliability for homes, businesses and communities all across the country. The short-term changes and long-term vision of the Open Networks Project will help maximise these benefits for all and I encourage stakeholders to share their views with us.”

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