Electricity transmission/distribution

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Electricity distribution networks will formulate their RIIO2 business plans based on centralised forecasts for demand provided by Ofgem, the regulator has announced as part of its decision on the price control methodology for the sector. Ofgem said allowing distribution network operators to develop their own regional scenarios may result in an “inconsistency in approach” that could “undermine the delivery of net zero targets at a national level.”
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Utility Week examines the changes to spending allowances in Ofgem’s RIIO2 final determinations, including an almost £2.45 billion rise for National Grid. The figure is just over half of the £4.8 billion in requested expenditure which the regulator disallowed at the draft determination stage in July.
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Ofgem’s decision to raise the baseline profit margin for investors as part of its final determinations for the RIIO2 price controls has “probably done enough” to deter network companies from appealing the settlement, an industry analyst has told Utility Week.  Colm Gibson, a managing director for the Berkeley Research Group, said the uplift represents a compromise between the regulator’s draft position and the preliminary findings of the Competition and Markets Authority in the appeal of four water companies against their final determinations.
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Conor Maher-McWilliams, head of flexibility at Ovo’s smart technology arm Kaluza, discusses the company’s direct-to-car smart charging trial with Bosch, why some networks are easier to deal with than others, and how it is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to better understand flexibility in heating.  
Analysis

Latest in Electricity transmission/distribution

Western Power Distribution (WPD) has released a new report setting out its proposed decisions between reinforcement and flexibility for the management for various constraints across its license areas and the reasoning behind them. Going forward, the company said its Distribution Network Options Assessment will be updated every six months.
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SP Energy Networks has launched a new "industry-first" app that uses smart phone cameras and artificial intelligence to identify and catalogue network assets and customer devices. The distribution network operator said the iDentify app allows asset data to be gathered directly by field staff as well as third-party installers of low-carbon technologies.
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A taskforce has been launched to accelerate the digitalisation of the energy system. The Energy Digitalisation Taskforce is the successor to the Energy Data Taskforce and will once again be chaired by Laura Sandys.
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Andrew Urquhart, head of whole system at SSEN Transmission, outlines the response to the company’s earlier paper exploring the case for reforms to transmission network charges to address concerns that their volatility, unpredictability and regional variation are deterring investment in new generation.
Opinion
UK Power Networks has had its carbon reduction plan and targets endorsed by the Science-Based Target Initiative. The distribution network operator said it is on course to reach net zero for all directly-controllable carbon emissions by 2028. This comprises a 42 per cent reduction in these emissions based on the 2018/19 level, with the rest offset.
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Ofgem has urged the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to dismiss the appeals sought by the transmission and gas distribution networks against their final determinations for RIIO2, arguing they are “without merit”. Responding to their notices of appeal in a submission to the CMA, Ofgem said the networks’ complaints “amount to no more than disagreements” with way it has exercised its “expert regulatory discretion”.
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Wales and West Utilities has argued the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) final decision on the PR19 appeals by water companies has “no material bearing” on its grounds for appeal against Ofgem’s final determinations for the RIIO2 price controls. The gas distribution network's submission to the CMA was in stark contrast to its fellow appellants.
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Electricity North West has become the fifth distribution network operator to join the Flexible Power platform originally developed by Western Power Distribution as part of an Ofgem-sponsored innovation project.
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As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, Utility Week presents a showcase of some of the most promising energy storage technologies. Tom Grimwood explores the potential - and the limitations - of solutions ranging from flow batteries to liquid air energy storage and the use of gravity, among others.
Analysis
National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has awarded eight Electricity System Restoration Services (formerly referred to as black start) for the North West, North East and Scotland.
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The Department for Business, Energy & industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been urged to set a minimum price for the surplus electricity provided by small scale generators to the grid through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).
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