SSEN has released a progress report on the transition to distribution system operator (DSO), detailing policy recommendations to further support this.
The distribution network operator (DNO) outlined in its 'Delivering DSO' progress report how it is investing over £160 million in the RIIO1 price control period for the transition, citing projects such as the smart grid trial Project Leo and the Solent Achieving Value from Efficiency project supporting community groups in providing system flexibility.
However, SSEN also points to the extra demand that is set to be caused by the increasing electrification of transport and heating, criticising Ofgem for not permitting DNOs to invest in anticipation of this demand increase.
Ofgem faced scrutiny from SP Energy Networks last month after it was denied funding to prepare its network for electric vehicles, although in response Ofgem pointed to electrification projects it has funded, with £3 billion already invested into reinforcing grids to accommodate increased EV use.
SSEN’s report issues seven policy recommendations to support the transition to DSO, including introducing a “clear mechanism” that supports anticipatory investment to help networks prepare for net zero.
Several recommendations focus on EVs, including introducing requirements for new homes to be ‘EV ready’ with appropriate charging infrastructure, mandating the installation of smart EV charging to ensure infrastructure is being efficiently utilised and improving transparency of anonymised EV use to support the smooth transition to electrified transport.
Households should also be encouraged to adopt flexibility through a financial incentive that is above market value.
The transparency of the uptake of low-carbon technology should be improved to better investment decisions, and a whole systems approach should be adopted that allows communities to take a leading role in net zero.
Andrew Roper, director of DSO at SSEN, said the recommendations identified in the report will help the DSO transition and create a foundation for delivering net zero.
“This action from industry needs to be matched with a supportive and flexible policy environment.
“Climate change is, rightly, now a first order issue and the adoption of net zero targets in the UK and Scotland, while ambitious, are absolutely necessary and absolutely achievable,” he added.