DSO sets transparency benchmark for flexibility markets

DSO UK power networks

UK Power Networks Distribution System Operator (DSO) has published its commitment to a transparent ‘flexibility first’ approach.

In its first ever Distribution Network Options Assessment report, it outlines where and when it would like to secure additional electrical capacity in the next five years. It showcases the options which are being considered on an annual basis, assessing options from reinforcing the existing electricity network, to offering flexibility options – and making recommendations for the lowest-cost investment option for customers.

This is the first time that this process and the outcome have been published, providing full transparency to the company’s customers that the decisions are made by the independent DSO and that flexibility options are considered as the first option over more traditional means of managing capacity on the network.

The assessment also offers accurate, detailed information on upcoming opportunities for flexibility market participants. It sets out the methodology for how its DSO selects areas where flexible capacity will be required in future.

It is making it easier than ever for flexibility providers, local authorities, and policy makers to prepare for the rise in low-carbon technologies like electric vehicle chargers and heat pumps in the long term and help shape their development plans towards net zero.

The data is a fundamental pillar of UK Power Networks’ independent DSO and underlines its commitment to transparency in the flexibility market.

As more people opt for low-carbon, electric alternatives, the demand on the electricity network continues to rise, forecasted to double by 2050. ‘Flexibility’ is a rapidly emerging marketplace that can offer network companies a cost-effective additional capacity on the network at peak times as an alternative to the traditional method of building new infrastructure.

In May, the company launched an independent DSO, with a commitment to save customers more than £400m over the next five years, by using flexibility to manage demand for new capacity instead of the traditional approach of building new infrastructure.

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Director of the Distribution System Operator at UK Power Networks, says, “Transparency is key to building trust in our marketplace, and this document is part of our commitment to demonstrate transparent and clear decision-making. It sets out very clearly how we evaluate traditional network options against flexible alternatives, where there are opportunities for new capacity on the network and what decisions we will make to ensure that we continue to deliver a fit-for-purpose network for the energy transition to net zero, at lowest cost for our customers.”

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