UK Power Networks (UKPN) smartens up its future

Following its 2017 Future Smart Consultation Report, UKPN has revealed its five-point strategic focus as part of its transformation into a Distribution System Operator (DSO).

The strategy was developed by UKPN as a result of feedback from the original consultation document and include solutions that will enhance customer connection, electric vehicle charging and service flexibility.

Supported by a UKPN report What our stakeholders said”, details of the DNO’s strategy were presented by its Director of Asset Management, Barry Hatton, at a recent Fundamentals Ltd Showcase event and highlighted UKPN’s intention to support a “smart grid for all”.

In his presentation, Barry Hatton highlighted the key influences on the industry as:

  • Transition to a low carbon economy
  • The changing regulatory environment
  • The digital revolution
  • Societal change

He also highlighted the challenges faced as a DNO/DSO, which include limited capacity, lack of visibility at the LV networks, the issues around a dynamic network, the rush for electricity storage and the ambitious targets being set by government, manufacturers and charging point providers for Electric Vehicles.

UKPN transition to the newly-styled DSO, will include a five-point strategy:

  1. Facilitate cheaper and quicker connections using proven innovation:  continue rollout of Flexible DG that uses Active Network Management.
  2. Use customer flexibility as an alternative to network upgrades: run market tenders for flexibility services such as Demand Side Response.
  3. Develop enhanced System Operator capabilities:  develop TSO-DSO Commercial Framework, DER Dispatch capability and readiness for smart meters.
  4. Collaborate with industry and others to enable GB-wide benefits: actively participate in industry forms and engage with others to make this transition a reality.
  5. Prepare and facilitate the uptake of Electric Vehicles: enable connections using smart solutions and ensure business readiness.

UKPN’s stakeholder feedback report also revealed the organisation’s comprehensive consultation process and stated that 71% of participants agreed the company was being bold enough in its vision for the future electricity system.  A further 79% agreed UKPN was doing enough to facility the transition to low carbon electricity supply.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 90% or more agreed with the DNO’s plans to become a DSO, from capability to roadmap and strategy.