Future Power System Architecture

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The Future Power System Architecture (FPSA) programme is an ambitious project involving dozens of industry professionals, academics, policymakers and stakeholders to assess the challenges and identify the new functionality required in the electricity system by 2030.

Britain’s electrical power system will undergo large-scale change by 2030 and based on National Grid’s ‘Gone Green’ Future Energy Scenario (2016), we expect to see:

  • more wind and solar PV farms with closer integration to storage and system services
  • smaller scale generation connected to distribution networks
  • customers’ homes and businesses able to generate and store power
  • more reliance on interconnectors
  • growth of domestic and grid-scale storage

Phase two of FPSA delivered its report in June 2017, identifying 35 new or significantly modified functions required to meet 2030 power system objectives, of which the drivers are:

  1. The flexibility to meet changing but uncertain requirements
  2. The change in mix of electricity generation
  3. The use of price signals or other incentives
  4. The emergence of new participants
  5. The active management of networks, generation, storage and demand
  6. The recovery from major outages
  7. The need for some coordination across energy vectors

The changing requirements of customers – for example, electric vehicle charging, heat pumps and smart appliances – will disrupt traditional demand patterns by interacting with smart meters, automated home energy management, dynamic tariffs and demand-side response. Meanwhile, new players such as smart cities and community energy schemes will create market opportunities through aggregation of both supply and demand. These major developments are all happening at the same time and are becoming core features of the power system.

The architecture of the power system is the underlying organisation of the electricity system: how all of the parts and elements are organised and interact – technically, commercially and administratively. Though it has served us well for several decades, today’s power system architecture now requires significant development as new technologies and business models grow from a relatively small scale to become major features of the British power system over the next 15–20 years. These developments require transformative change through greater agility and flexibility of sector functions and processes. The breadth and challenge of the changes ahead is summarised in the government’s Smart Energy consultation.

The FPSA is a multi-stakeholder collaboration led by the Energy Systems Catapult and the Institution of Engineering and Technology. The FPSA is taking a holistic and whole-system approach to the evolution of its architecture – considering technical, governance, commercial and societal factors.

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