UK Power Networks’ Distribution System Operator (DSO) has published an assessment of distribution network options for securing additional electrical capacity in its network.
The report is the first time this process has been published publicly, showing a commitment to transparency by the new DSO, which was launched in May 2023 to help drive expansion of UKPN’s grid capacity. The DSO says it aims to save customers more than £400 million over the next five years.
The report lays out options which are being considered such as from reinforcing the existing electricity network, offering flexibility options, and makes recommendations for the lowest-cost investment option for customers.
UKPN says that “flexibility options are considered as the first option over more traditional means of managing capacity on the network.” The company’s report also provides information about upcoming opportunities for suppliers to provide grid flexibility and sets out how UKPN’s DSO decides which areas will need flexibility capacity in future.
Publishing this information will allow local authorities, policy makers and flexibility providers to prepare for the coming expansion of the grid and its associated infrastructure works. With demand on the electricity network expected to double by 2050, flexibility is becoming an emerging market that offers grid operators additional capacity at peak times.
Sotiris Georgiopoulos, director of the Distribution System Operator at UK Power Networks said: “Transparency is key to building trust in our marketplace, and this document is part of our commitment to be demonstrate transparent and clear decision-making. It sets out very clearly how we evaluate traditional network options against flexible alternatives, where there are opportunities for new capacity on the network and what decisions we will make to ensure we continue to deliver a fit-for-purpose network for the energy transition to Net Zero, at lowest cost for our customers.”
UKPN has contracted 37 organisations to provide 1,467MW of flexible electrical capacity over the past financial year. In June the company published new opportunities for providers to support flexibility in 22 zones through the provision of 98MW of capacity.