Western Power Distribution to launch flexibility tenders across all networks in 2019

Sun sets on ‘dumb’ networks?

Western Power Distribution will launch flexibility across all of its network areas next year.

The distribution network operator (DNO) has updated its distribution system operator (DSO) transition. A DSO is effectively a smart grid that dispatches distributed generation resource and demand-side response, and more closely manages the network through technology rather than increased copper.

Within its plan, WPD outlined a timetable for key elements of its DSO transition, with flexibility tenders to launch across all networks in 2019 through to new, time-of-use-based network charges for customers in 2023.

Looking further ahead, the company said it expects 8GW of energy storage to be connected to its networks by 2030.

In the meantime, to manage its networks and help National Grid manage the national system, WPD said it will use a mixture of tenders and market based arrangements.

The company noted concerns from stakeholders around DNOs becoming commercial aggregators and said it will not invest in smart grid flexibility services where the market can do so more economically.

While WPD favours the DSO-led model (distribution companies taking the lead on flexibility as opposed to the current centralised co-ordination by National Grid), the company said the Energy Networks Association’s Open Networks project is “best placed” to find the most efficient and cost effective route to a UK-wide smart grid.

See the update here.

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