FPSA2 – Future Power System Architecture – Policy Briefing

Published: 28 August 2017

Introduction to the FPSA phase 2 Synthesis Report by Dr Simon Harrison, Chair of the FPSA Project Delivery Board and the IET Energy Policy Panel

We have now published the report for the second phase of the Future Power Systems Architecture project, for which we were grateful to Innovate UK for funding support. This is the culmination of six months’ work by Catapult and IET staff, IET volunteers and a significant consultancy support team. You can read the policy briefing from this page.

FPSA1 explored the future functional requirements of a transformed electricity system in 2030 and was groundbreaking internationally in using systems engineering techniques to articulate complex whole system issues in electricity, and identified 35 new or substantially extended functional requirements, most of which were whole system in nature, and many of which clustered around the grid edge, in parts of the system traditionally not considered in depth by the established electricity industry.

Consumers and technology companies have the potential to contribute actively to affordability, decarbonisation and security objectives in new ways, and will have far more choices in how they manage their personal and community energy economies.

FPSA2 built on this work by broadening stakeholder engagement, especially at the grid edge and amongst communities, smart cities and other stakeholders. The work deepened and validated the functional analysis and identified innovation requirements.

A key part of the work was a counterfactual analysis, exploring the barriers to delivering the required functionality in today’s industry environment, and the consequences of not delivering the functionality. Barriers were found to be significant, especially in the areas of industry change governance, and consequences of non-delivery high.

The work further went on to explore entirely new ways in the energy industry to deliver agile, flexible and stakeholder-inclusive change governance, an aspect that will be taken further in future phases of work. The key challenge going forward is to build a shared vision across this emergent and highly complex stakeholder group, which will need whole industry engagement and government support. At present these stakeholders are not in dialogue and lack shared understanding and even a common lexicon.

As with FPSA1, this work has needed teamwork and collaboration of the highest order, and all involved have gone the extra mile to deliver work in a compressed timeframe which, once again, we believe to be internationally groundbreaking. On behalf of the IET and the Energy Systems Catapult, we extend our thanks to all involved.

This report was commissioned by Innovate UK and delivered through a collaboration between the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Energy Systems Catapult.

The main findings from the report include:

  • The need for a whole industry vision, including consumers, communities, the traditional industry, and new players bringing innovative technologies and business models at the grid edge – all with their different perspectives and needs from a transformed system – something the work has explored in some depth
  • A stream of innovation and research and development topics needed to allow the transformation to take place effectively
  • The complexity of delivering the new or enhanced functions identified in FPSA1 within current industry governance
  • The need for new governance models that are agile, flexible and inclusive of all stakeholders, if we are to enable rather than frustrate the transformation, and an urgency to start on that journey given the discussions now underway to frame RIIO2 – the price controls for electricity transmission and distribution through most of the 2020s
  • Initial but detailed thinking on radically new industry-led governance models that deliver agility, flexibility and inclusivity, that now need intensive engagement and development by government and the whole industry
  • The need for industry to take hold of the need for change and start driving it, with the full support and enablement of government