Exploring the future of energy
How will the demands on Great Britain’s electricity and gas transmission networks change over the next decade? What challenges lie ahead in making sure our electricity system can operate effectively in future? As National Grid publishes its Electricity and Gas Ten Year Statements for 2015 and the System Operability Framework 2015, Director of System Operations Phil Sheppard examines the main points raised.
Exploring the future of energy
“Our analysis shows that electricity supply and demand patterns are changing. Generation is also becoming more geographically dispersed.”
Phil Sheppard, Director of System Operations.
Over 200 national and international organisations were consulted through workshops and webinars to develop the System Operability Framework 2015.
Source: National Grid.
On 30 November National Grid published the latest Ten Year Statements for both electricity and gas as well as our 2015 System Operability Framework. We produce these statements each year in our role as System Operator and they form part of a wider suite of documents looking in detail at the Future of Energy.
Rationale and engaging stakeholders
So, why do we produce these documents and what value do they provide? In an industry where long-term decision-making is essential we need to have clarity about how different scenarios might play out in a rapidly changing energy landscape.
We must provide the services to our customers that they need. We must also facilitate competition, deliver a secure energy supply and support de-carbonisation at the least cost to consumers.
We also want to have a rich and ongoing dialogue with stakeholders from every part of the industry. This is why both of the Ten Year Statements and the System Operability Framework have been shaped by views from a cross-section of stakeholders, including developers, distribution network operators, generators, manufacturers and the regulator.
We have done a lot of work over the past 12 months to engage proactively with these groups and more. This has included customer seminars to discuss developments in electricity transmission, stakeholder engagement events for our gas transmission business and the pre-assessment industry workshop we held in April. The latter was attended by more than 70 stakeholders and took place right at the start of our development of the System Operability Framework 2015.
Electricity – the next ten years
The Electricity Ten Year Statement (ETYS) shows the likely future transmission requirements and capability of the National Electricity Transmission System (NETS) to transfer bulk power.
Our analysis shows that electricity demand patterns are changing. Generation is also becoming more geographically dispersed. Taken together these factors mean it’s essential that we develop the transmission networks to prepare for future challenges.
A big change in this year’s ETYS is the further development of the Integrated Transmission Planning and Regulations. This means that National Grid, as System Operator, has been given additional responsibilities to identify the preferred options for Britain’s transmission network investment based on a GB economic assessment.
Following this work we will publish an annual Network Options Assessment (NOA) report. The report includes information previously published in the ‘Network Development and Opportunities’ chapter of the ETYS, in particular: the options for transmission development and the optimum selection of those options to meet network development needs. The first NOA report is due by 31 March 2016.
We are also launching a new Customer Connection Interface Tool to coincide with the statement’s publication. The tool will help our customers early in the NETS connection process, by providing access to network information in England and Wales in a user-friendly way.
Gas – the next ten years
The Gas Ten Year Statement (GTYS) details how we will plan and operate the gas National Transmission System (NTS) over the next decade. It gives customers information about connection and capacity opportunities and also highlights the challenges we face as System Operator and Transmission Owner and how we plan to address them.
This year we focus on four issues that we believe will have the biggest impact on the NTS: changing customer requirements, changing patterns of supply and demand, legislative changes and asset health.
This year’s GTYS structure is aligned with our internal Network Development Process, focusing on the first three stages – Trigger, Need Case and Establish Portfolio – and outlines how we make decisions.
The GTYS expands on our 2015 Future Energy Scenarios by including locational information. We set out what we are doing to gain a better understanding of future System Flexibility requirements and discuss the possibility of developing a Gas System Operability Framework.
System Operability Framework 2015
This is the second year that we have published the System Operability Framework (SOF). We use it to study the Future Energy Scenarios in detail and understand what they might mean for the way we operate our networks in future.
There are a number of new topics included this year, including an entirely new section on embedded generation that was added in response to stakeholder feedback. To give more clarity to stakeholders on what needs to be done and when, we have also added a section on Future Operability Strategy, developed through extensive stakeholder engagement. In fact over 200 national and international organisations were consulted through a series of workshops and webinars to help us shape the SOF content.
There are three key recommendations made in the document. Firstly, that National Grid as System Operator should continue to work with Ofgem to remove commercial and regulatory barriers so that the potential capabilities of technologies such as wind farms and interconnectors can be fully realised.
Secondly, transmission and distribution companies will need to work closer together to consider the whole system impact of new technologies and enable greater access to demand side services.
Thirdly, highlight the opportunities from developers and manufacturers in providing new, flexible services and supported by future revenue streams.
Your views are important
Stakeholder involvement has played a vital role helping us develop the content of these documents and it’s equally important that we get your feedback now that they have been published: the input you give shapes our decision-making and also the way that we communicate with stakeholders throughout the year.
To give us your thoughts and views, simply complete the short survey via the links below. For more information, visit each statement’s webpage or send an email to the relevant address.
You can also read more about the Future Energy Scenarios 2015 here: