The ENA's Open Networks Project has formally set out how the role of local electricity networks will change as the UK’s smart energy grid becomes a reality.[quote] The UK's Energy Network's Association explains that the Open Networks Project, is a major initiative that is in the process of re-defining how our energy networks will operate in the future as we head into a new smart era.
In a release, the association said,"The changes [that Open Networks Project] will make will give the UK’s households, businesses and communities the ability to take advantage of a new range of energy technologies and services to take control of their energy and lower their costs, including renewable generation, battery storage and electric vehicles."
It noted that innovation by UK energy networks has already enabled close to £1bn of cost savings that will be delivered between now and 2023, "clearly demonstrating the economic potential of smarter networks."
The project brings together the leading minds in the UK energy industry, including all of the UK’s electricity network operators, including National Grid, respected academics, NGOs, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the energy regulator Ofgem. The project is led and facilitated by Energy Networks Association.
According to ENA's director of Policy, Tony Glover, "Defining the changes to our local electricity networks will not only ensure that UK consumers will continue to get the kind of reliability and performance that the UK’s energy networks are renowned for as we head into a new smart era, but it will also create a platform for exciting new opportunities for them to engage in the energy market, enabling households and businesses to have greater control over their electricity and unlock the potential from new technologies like battery storage and electric vehicles in their everyday lives.”
New role of the DSO
Under the new definition of the role of local electricity networks – also known as Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), the ENA states that:
- A Distribution System Operator (DSO) securely operates and develops an active distribution system comprising networks, demand, generation and other flexible distributed energy resources (DER).
- It acts as a neutral facilitator of an open and accessible market, enabling competitive access to markets and the optimal use of DER on distribution networks to deliver security, sustainability and affordability in the support of whole system optimisation.
- It enables customers to be both producers and consumers; enabling customer access, customer choice and great customer service.