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We're expanding our DSO services

We’ve launched our latest Distribution System Operator (DSO) strategy which outlines how we’re planning to incentivise domestic flexibility, using this to unlock greater network capacity and maximise the benefits of a smarter, more efficient, low carbon energy system.

Our updated DSO Strategy details our approach to developing DSO services independent of our core business as a Distribution Network Operator (DNO).

By making it easier for third parties to deliver flexibility services, we’re aiming to promote increased competition and deliver additional network capacity to connect greater volumes of renewable distributed generation (including wind and solar), energy storage solutions, and other low carbon technologies like heat pumps and electric vehicle charging stations.

This goes hand-in-hand with our Digitalisation Action Plan which is helping third party energy innovators to develop new data-led solutions to the UK’s network flexibility challenges, as demonstrated by the launch of the Connected Data Portal earlier this year. By enabling increased data transparency, we want to empower the next generation of innovators to develop applications that will increase efficiency and smarter solutions for domestic electricity customers.

Our focus on facilitating neutral markets will help to foster more dynamic and competitive flexibility services, rewarding innovative companies for increased flexibility, while incentivising energy consumers to make smarter, low energy choices. In this way, we can accelerate the UK’s transition towards net zero, while keeping household electricity bills down by driving competition and efficiency.

Leading the way with Flexible Power

We’re already leading the industry in developing DSO services through Flexible Power – a product initially created and developed by WPD. Now adopted by five DNOs, this national flexibility market platform brings together network operators and flexibility service providers. By rewarding customers who moderate their energy consumption at peak times, it’s possible to avoid expensive but often unnecessary network reinforcement.

Thanks to the hundreds of electricity consumers now participating in Flexible Power, more than 450MW of flexibility has been unlocked, enabling the connection of renewable generators and the charging of thousands of EVs in zones that serve nearly two million customers.

Active decarbonisation

Our updated approach to DSO services reflects a broader shift in the UK electricity system, from a passive arrangement based on carbon-emitting baseload generation, towards a more diverse system incorporating more renewable distributed generation and storage. In line with Ofgem guidance, we’re fostering a new layer of innovative energy service businesses, working in partnership with DNOs to provide greater flexibility through the development of an increasingly smart and flexible network.

By incorporating additional DSO services delivering enhanced flexibility, we want to maximise utilisation of existing infrastructure, allowing more low carbon technologies to be connected at a lower cost.

Paul Jewell, WPD system development manager, said: “Our updated DSO strategy empowers energy innovators to develop dynamic new ways to unlock network flexibility.

“By supporting a new generation of energy pioneers, opening up our network data and providing a neutral and trusted market infrastructure through our Flexible Power brand, WPD is supercharging the UK’s journey towards net zero, maximising the utilisation of existing infrastructure through flexibility and active network management, all while keeping household energy bills low.”

Our latest DSO strategy is broken down into two workstreams. The first, System Operator Functions, focuses on the deployment of new systems and solutions to operate and maintain efficient, economic and co-ordinated networks. To roll this out, we’ll focus on the delivery of solutions using a top-down approach, targeting 132kV, 66kV and 33kV networks as a priority, while incrementally upgrading the rest of the network to meet customer demands. We’re already working on a number of projects to develop analytical tools and provide data in a user-friendly format for flexibility participants.

As part of the second workstream - DSO Enablers – we will deliver activities and functions to support the development of neutral markets and flexibility. For example, this may include the supply of data for a market or aid the connection of low carbon technologies, as well as developing systems for smarter real-time network reconfiguration and optimisation.

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  • DSO/Smart Networks