Western Power Distribution has pledged to work more closely with local authorities and community groups in a bid to unlock flexibility and enable net zero.
Data-sharing is earmarked as a priority alongside flexibility. Meanwhile, the DNO plans to disclose the carbon intensity of the flexibility it buys later this year.
Launching its Net Zero Communities Strategy, WPD claims be the most community-conscious of Britain’s distribution network operators. It recognises 97 groups that collectively own 100MW of generation across the south west, central England and south Wales.
Alison Sleightholm, resources and external affairs director, said practical, ‘bottom-up’ co-operation with consumers and their representatives will be key to WPD achieving a clean grid by 2050 at minimum cost.
Via its Carbon Tracer phone app, WPD said it has launched postcode level carbon tracking across its networks.
Meanwhile, an ‘open book’ disclosure to public groups of data on two-way power flows through 80 sub-stations shines a light on bottlenecks to connecting community power ventures.
Other initiatives currently under way include ‘Future Flex’, a project which WPD bills as “making flexibility services more accessible to domestic and community participants, such as households with vehicle-to-grid technology, electricity storage or smart, hybrid heating”.
Specific actions pledged in the WPD plan for delivery before 2022 also include:
- Disclosing carbon intensities of all grid services which WPD buys from third parties. Flexibility will be the first, with a report scheduled for September 2020
- Providing advice to overcome regulatory barriers to connection facing local generators.
- Collaborating with councils and independent groups working to devise local energy plans
Green energy campaigners Regen assisted in compiling the strategy.
“As a distribution network operator, we are committed to accelerating net zero in communities across our four licence areas,” said Sleigtholm.
“We know that community energy organisations play a vital role in driving that transition and it is only by working with them that we can reach the speed and scale necessary to meet net zero by 2050”.
See WPD’s Community Strategy here.