An analysis of the FPSA validation of 35 new power system functions – by Phil Lawton

Published: 13 April 2017

Phil Lawton, of the Energy Systems Catapult, is the lead for Future Power Systems Architecture (FPSA) Work Package 2 (WP2) of the FPSA programme.

Phil writes about the cross-cutting work of WP2, and how the activity connects to the functional analysis elements of the earlier work undertaken in FPSA1.

The role of Work Package 2 (WP2) is to further develop the functional analysis contained in the FPSA1 report that was published in the summer of 2016. The list of 35 new or significantly enhanced power system functions identified by FPSA1 were the main inputs for WP2, combined with the stakeholder views that resulted from work package 1A/1B’s programme of stakeholder engagement. There were four main deliverables for WP2, as described below.

Testing the functions identified by FPSA1

The first piece of analysis was to test that all the functions identified as part of FPSA1 were required and, more challenging, whether any necessary functions had been missed. WP1A, which looks at the needs of current customers, was particularly valuable in testing for missing functions as the stakeholders each had an independent view of the challenges faced in both the current industry and for its future development. While no entirely new functions were identified, the wording of most of the functions was updated. One example was to extend the functions related to connected energy systems to include offshore power systems, such as interconnectors to continental power grids.

Identifying the function “needs” for use by WP3 and WP4

Having tested and improved the list of functions, the next task was to support WP3 and WP4 by identifying the “needs” associated with each function. Most of the functions could be broken down into a series of steps. For example, the function “Enable settlement for all existing customer profile classes to support flexible tariffs, e.g. half hourly using smart or advanced meters” has the following ‘needs’:

  • A process to implement financial settlements
  • Hardware to enable settlement for all customers who request it
  • IT infrastructure suitable for transmitting settlement data

These “needs” were then used by WP3 to identify the barriers to implementation and by WP4 to consider how the change process could be designed to facilitate overcoming these barriers. WP3 considered all functions with a view to scoping the total implementation challenge. Conversely, WP4 concentrated on three functions reflecting a focus on the change process itself, rather than the scale of the task it will face. This led to a requirement for WP2 to identify the “needs” of all 35 functions with a more detailed assessment for the three functions chosen by WP4.

Identifying opportunities for research, development and innovation

WP2 was also asked to identify opportunities for research, development and innovation. The criteria for choosing these development areas were that they should represent an existing/emerging problem, the solution would represent a significant step forward without requiring the solution of other problems and it should not restrict future choice by locking us into a particular set of arrangements. Examples include monitoring of lower voltage networks, improved decision support tools, and modelling customer behaviour. Future work by the Energy Systems Catapult and Innovate UK will draw upon the full list of opportunities.

Facilitating the communication of the functions

One issue with communicating the new functions is that there are 35 of them and their definitions are, of necessity, quite lengthy. To provide some context, the functions have been arranged into groupings, which can be thought of as “super-functions”. The eight groupings are as follows:

  • Design a competitive framework to address the energy trilemma
  • Manage the interface with connected energy systems
  • Form and share best view of state of system in each time scale
  • Use smart grid and other technologies to accommodate new demand, generation and energy resources
  • Enable and execute necessary operator interventions
  • Monitor trends and scan for emerging risks/ opportunities on the power system and implement appropriate responses.
  • Provide capabilities for use in emergencies
  • Develop market to support customer aspirations and new functionality.


WP2 has successfully validated and refined the 35 functions that were identified by FPSA1. It then went on to establish the underlying needs of these functions for analysis by WP3 and WP4. Finally, it considered the implementation options for the functions to confirm that they were deliverable and to identify opportunities for research and innovation. These topics were selected on the basis that they have the potential to yield significant benefits, with little risk of being rendered redundant by other developments or frustrated by a lack of progress on other issues.

The overall outcomes of the work of the FPSA2 project will be unveiled at a launch event on June 23rd 2017 at the IET, Savoy Place, London.