ENA Open Networks Project: Flexibility consultation response

Published: 23 August 2019


Launched in January 2017, ENA’s Open Networks Project is laying the foundations for a smart energy grid in Great Britain and informing future developments in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is a key initiative to deliver Government policy set out in Ofgem and BEIS’ Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, the Government’s Industrial Strategy and the Clean Growth Plan.

The Open Networks Project has introduced real momentum into the development work required to enable GB’s energy networks to:

  • facilitate our customers’ transition to a low-carbon future, including the electrification of heat and transport;
  • address the challenges arising from the continued uptake of local generation;
  • evolve to be market enablers for a whole range of new smart energy technologies;
  • reduce costs to customers by contracting for flexibility services alongside investment in traditional and innovative network solutions, and
  • play a key role in delivering overall lowest whole system energy system costs for customers.

The purpose of this consultation is to seek views from stakeholders on our flexibility commitments and developments to date and planned future developments in order for us to update and adapt our work accordingly. Therefore, the questions in this consultation are structured to:

  • encourage as many stakeholders as possible, from a wide variety of viewpoints, to engage with our development work on flexibility;
  • provide feedback on the content of our work to date; and
  • help inform and shape the future work to be undertaken by ENA and the Open Networks Project to develop flexibility.

Key points

Energy Systems Catapult response to this consultation by the ENA’s Open Networks Project, includes:

  • We welcome ENA’s flexibility commitments and ongoing work to develop and test procurement of flexibility services and to adopt common flexibility market principles among DNOs. Standardisation of products and processes is likely to ease access to new markets for innovators and support system-wide roll out of new services.
  • As recommended in our Energy Data Taskforce report, establishing standardised metadata and a Data Catalogue to provide dataset visibility across the sector would be key to unlocking value in a modern, digitalised energy system. We would welcome continuing engagement on the topic to support the development of ENA’s visibility and accessibility principle.
  • Creating a level playing field between technologies and services should include consideration of non-traditional and emerging providers who rely on the development of new business models and flexibility service platforms (e.g. aggregators, platform developers), and should seek to enable fair access for all providers, including generation, storage and demand-side response.
  • We believe that work under planning for Workstream 4 – Whole Energy Systems should be considered in the ongoing development of flexibility services workstream to ensure a more integrated approach is taken to support efficiency improvements across electricity and gas.
  • The integration of local markets within the wider system should also be considered at an early stage, with the goal of allowing all flexibility that can contribute to resolving a constraint to be used. This will enable the system to be balanced at the lowest possible cost, with no discrimination on the basis of the market or platform used.