NG-DSO reveals 2-year action plan, offers more revenue stacking for flex


National Grid’s distribution division today launches its two-year action plan for its Distribution System Operator (DSO). Expanded provision for revenue stacking by flex providers is a keynote.

Responding to feedback from 200-plus stakeholders & counterparties, the blueprint sets out how National Grid Electricity Distribution will make real on the commitments of its 2023 Charter, including governance, flexibility markets, and network planning.

The DSO operates distribution for the Midlands, South West England and South Wales.  In its first year of full separation from the grid’s transmission and network balancing operations, NGED’s DSO says it has delivered:

  • 10 GW more capacity through initiatives including ‘Technical Limits’, speeding offers for connections by as much as 5 years
  • 70,000 flexibility assets, including batteries & short notice reserve, registered on its ‘Market Gateway’ platform, launched last July
  • £80m of network investment deferred through purchase of 17 GWh-plus of flexibility services
  • Connecting 374 MW of new generation, including over 11,000 heat pumps and more than 52,000 home EV chargers.

This year the DSO says it will sharpen local short-term forecasting, using weather data to feed into decisions on flexibility dispatch and curtailment modelling.

Also targeted is widening the scope of the DSO’s PRIDE (Planning Regional Infrastructure in a Digital Environment) project. This gives digital support to local authorities preparing Local Area Energy Plans.

For the first time it will release weekly dispatch data, digitalise its trading function, and introduce day-ahead flexibility competitions and expand revenue stacking.  The moves build on its recent ‘Revenue Stacking for Flexibility’ report produced with Cornwall Insight.

That study highlighted potential benefits of ‘jumpability’ – where a flexibility asset could operate in diverse markets, offering services at different times depending on network need – and of ‘co-deliverability’, where an asset could offer several services to different markets at the same time.

NGED said it welcomed the commitment from parent National Grid ESO that any repeat of its Demand Flexibility Service will involve review and probable removal of the exclusivity clause which at present limits opportunities for providers and thus the potential size of the market for flex services across distribution networks.

The DSO says its ‘flexibility first’ approach can maximise the use of existing capacity, postponing the need for spending on network reinforcement. Costs to consumers will be saved, and accelerated connections will cut overall carbon emissions.

National Grid Electricity Distribution director Ben Godfrey, pictured, observed; “I’m truly excited by the future evolution of our DSO and the benefits we can create by enabling decarbonisation in our communities.

“We’re in full support of the ESO’s plan to remove exclusivity arrangements from its Demand Flexibility Service and would like to see this change made as soon as is practical so we can expand our ‘flexibility first’ approach to decarbonising the electricity distribution network as efficiently as possible.”

In November NGED published its DSO Charter, setting out its vision and commitments to counterparties  It also set up an independent DSO panel to improve governance and accountability. Chaired by Regina Finn, it brings together experts from across the energy sector to provide challenge and strategic advice.

On the same day that Ofgem published its own five grid masterplan, NGED released its plan at an event at London’s no longer generating Battersea Power retail complex.


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