Project: FUSION Scotland
Colin Taylor and Alex Walmsley work at SP Energy Networks in the UK. The company operates as both a DSO and TSO in central and southern Scotland and, as a DSO, also covers Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire.
Coin is Engineering Services Director, with overall responsibility for network innovation. Alex is the project manager for FUSION, a flagship project to develop and trial a live, actively-managed DSO system which aims to create and utilise a commoditised competitive market for flexibility and, ultimately, benefit all system stakeholders.
The UK energy system in change, with strong regulatory support
‘It’s estimated that by 2040, the UK will have up to 9.7m electric vehicles and 9.1m primary source domestic heat pumps. These alone could double or triple peak demand for domestic electricity, particularly in winter. This coincides with a growing share of renewable energy generation, particularly in Scotland, which offers the best UK wind regimes, and more storage devices. To manage this shift to a cleaner, more sustainable and affordable future, the electricity network is already evolving here and we are lucky because we have great regulatory support to help achieve that. In fact, FUSION is being funded for five years by UK regulator, Ofgem, as a winner of its 2017 annual electricity network innovation competition.’
Evaluating a common flexibility market based on USEF
‘FUSION aims to evaluate the feasibility, costs and benefits of implementing a common flexibility market framework. We will use USEF as a template, a mature starting point, which we will tailor to meet specific British structural and regulatory requirements, while retaining the standardisation it offers to ensure broader industry alignment – the key to any future smart energy system.’
Commoditising flexibility to optimise network management
‘The project will commoditise flexibility to manage local distribution network constraints and support wider national network balancing requirements within the existing regulatory framework. It will include a live trial which will take place in East Fife, Scotland. The trial will help us understand the potential use and value of flexibility to further enhance efficient DSO network management. It will help us both to demonstrate proof of concept and evidence the business case for commoditised flexibility, both locally and more widely in the UK.’
‘We have already undertaken a preliminary assessment of flexibility available in East Fife; this will be developed further and quantified in relation to four key network challenges which, in turn, will help us to develop flexibility product definitions. At the same time, the preliminary assessment of USEF’s fit to the national market will be greatly expanded in scope and depth to help us understand any changes required.’
Stakeholder engagement is crucial
‘We consider public consultation to be crucial in the development of a flexibility market at the distribution network level and we aim to structure this. We will reach out to a broad base of stakeholders including local government and institutional stakeholders, end-users, aggregators, other network owners (primarily gas and electricity transmission) and energy suppliers. Trial participants will gain hands on experience in the pilot, inform the evolution of the trials, and provide valuable input into future flexibility market implementation and the further development of the USEF framework.’
FUSION as a blueprint for a smart energy future
‘Ultimately, we hope that FUSION will deliver a blueprint for a national flexibility market which we can share with others. This is vital for the entire DSO network if it is to keep pace with the wider energy landscape as we move towards a smart energy future. We think that energy markets will continue to evolve very rapidly during 2018 and we are thrilled to be part of FUSION because we believe that the project is well positioned to lead national market developments and ensure that we provide the very best service to our customers.’