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National Grid ESO falls below Ofgem’s expectations as it calls to push Project TERRE back to 2021

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Implementing Project TERRE in 2020 is “not prudent” and should be held off till 1 January 2021, given the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s access to EU balancing platforms.

This is according to National Grid ESO, which has been working to develop the Trans-European Replacement Reserve Exchange (TERRE) project that is set to create a platform for trading power for balancing means between nine countries.

However, in an open letter released by regulator Ofgem, it expresses concern over the operator falling below its expectations with regards to the project.

It notes in the letter that as part of its derogation decision – announced in June 2019 and extended further in April 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic – it requested progress updates and for National Grid ESO to engage with GB-France interconnectors to address any outstanding implementation details.

However, it continues: “We note that since this decision, industry stakeholders have expressed frustration at the delays, lack of certainty regarding the implementation timelines and the level of engagement they’ve received from the ESO.

“Stakeholders have stated that they have not had sufficient clarity to plan the necessary updates to their own systems and that this is leading to increased costs and uncertainty.”

As such, National Grid ESO must take immediate steps to bring together stakeholders to create a GB TERRE Implementation Group and a plan based on the credible scenarios going forwards. This should be made widely available and quick progress made on it to ensure all measures are in place to allow cross-border balancing services are in place.

Additionally, the ESO must ensure that the delays associated with the go-live of the API and TERRE implementation do not lead to knock-on delays to other 2020-21 Forward Plan deliverables, finished Ofgem.

Project TERRE had previously been set to go live on 30 June 2020 – a date set following an extension due to “difficulties” with implementing new systems and controls – the ESO was then given greater flexibility to complete it until 27 October as the project was marked as low priority during the initial COVID-19 lockdown in April.

National Grid ESO published an update on 4 September 2020 stating that the COVID-19 pandemic had created resourcing challenges that had an impact on the go-live of its Application Programme Interface (API) for Wider Access to the GB Balancing Market. This subsequently went live on 18 September, with Tesla becoming the first company to go live with the new API.

As part of the September update, National Grid ESO highlighted that there would be a further impact on Project TERRE meaning it would not go live till early December at the earliest, and suggesting 1 January 2021 would be better given the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s access to EU balancing platforms.

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