Grid operators map Britain’s smart energy transition


The UK’s electricity grid operators have unveiled a roadmap for a smart grid that they say will help deliver the flexibility needed to decarbonize the country’s energy system.

Published by Energy Networks Association (ENA) and called Our Six Steps for Delivering Flexibility Services, it sets out exactly how grid operators will run new flexibility markets across the UK.

These markets will use the latest smart energy technologies in homes, businesses and communities to boost network capacity in Britain’s electricity grid for connecting renewable energy projects, electric vehicle charging points and heat pumps.

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ENA chief executive David Smith said: “Expanding local energy markets will bring big economic and environmental benefits and continue to deliver the world class energy system we rely on every day. These steps further highlight the networks’ commitment to finding innovative, customer-led market solutions to decarbonise the grid and drive down costs.

“Boosting grid capacity will see more energy from cleaner sources. These steps will lay the foundations of an Internet of Energy that maximises the potential of new smart technologies, for the benefit of all.”

The ENA hopes that the smart grid roadmap will deliver a number of significant benefits, including households charging their electric vehicles at off-peak times or when it is sunniest, whilst other households’ domestic solar panels are generating electricity; Businesses striking demand-side response agreements to adjust their electricity use at the times of day when they least need it, helping reduce the need and cost of building new infrastructure; and using battery storage to help network operators proactively manage a rapidly changing electricity grid where electricity now flows in many different directions, rather than in just one as it has done in the past.

The Six Steps for Delivering Flexibility Services outlines how these markets will work in practice while maintaining transparency for all to participate in and creating a level playing field for energy suppliers, aggregators and customers to procure and deliver clean energy.

The ENA comes as National Grid today said that this year Britain will – for the first time since the Industrial Revolution – get more of its energy generation from clean energy sources rather than fossil fuels.

A similar version of this story first appeared on our sister-site, Power Engineering International.