SSE Networks has outlined proposals to transition to become a distribution system operator that procures and dispatches flexibility as part of a smarter power grid.
Fellow network operator Northern Powergrid has announced similar plans.
The companies are reacting to growing volumes of generation connected to their networks that requires more intelligent control to avoid them becoming overloaded. SSEN alone has over 5GW, or about 10% of UK peak demand, of wind and solar connected to its network and said significant volumes of battery storage projects are queueing up for connections.
As such, managing connections is increasingly difficult for DNOs. SSEN said it would require customers to be more flexible in their connections agreements in order to better manage network constraints.
The company said it aims to procure and dispatch flexibility but would not become a competitor to the likes of aggregators and suppliers, something those participants are concerned about.
SSEN now seeks views on its smart grid plans, which can be found here.
Northern Powergrid is also beginning its transition to a DSO model. The firm launched its initial £1.9m ‘Customer-led Distribution System’ project today as well as a consultation on how to reduce losses.
The smart grid project, working with researchers at the University of Bath and Newcastle University, aims to work out how to best accommodate solar and batteries and optimise local energy markets in which consumers can trade and earn a share of savings they enable by helping to balance the grid.
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