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

All three of the electricity and gas transmission companies as well as two of the four gas distribution networks in Great Britain have so far announced plans to appeal elements of Ofgem’s RIIO2 final determinations. Utility Week brings you all the latest updates and reaction in this live blog.
News
National Grid has said it will accept most of RIIO2 final determinations for its electricity and gas transmission businesses but will submit a technical appeal on the cost of equity and the outperformance wedge to the Competition and Markets Authority. It said the final determination for the Electricity System Operator will be accepted in full.
News
The standard flexibility contract agreed upon by distribution network operators and the Electricity System Operator at National Grid has received an update based on feedback from industry stakeholders, including Ofgem and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The contract was developed as part of the Energy Network Association’s Open Networks project to provide a consistent core agreement for those wishing to provide flexibility services.
News
In our latest review of sector coverage across the national newspapers, there is continued speculation of appeals to Ofgem’s RIIO2 final determinations by gas and transmission companies. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund is reported to be considering selling its stake in Thames Water. There is also coverage of government plans to force energy retailers to switch customers on to lower tariffs.
News
Analysts at Barclays have predicted each of the gas and transmission networks will appeal their final determinations from Ofgem for the RIIO-2 price control. The companies have until 3 March to accept or reject the regulator's decision on their business plans.
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The chair of the customer engagement group for Western Power Distribution’s RIIO ED2 business plan has written to its chief executive, Phil Swift, to urge the company to be “more radical or ambitious” after the distribution network operator published an early draft last month. Duncan McCombie welcomed its “open and transparent approach” and “radical candour” but said most of its commitments only represent “incremental change from those currently being delivered in ED1.”
News
Roddy Wilson, network planning and investment manager, SSEN Transmission, outlines some of the findings from the company’s new Future Energy Scenarios for the north of Scotland, which is expected to become a major exporter of renewable power to the rest of the country.
Opinion
The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has once again extended its deadline to deliver the final redeterminations for the four water companies that appealed Ofwat’s PR19 decisions. It means that gas and transmission networks mulling their own response to Ofgem’s final determinations will not be able to take account of the CMA’s stance on cost of capital.
News
Can the massive network infrastructure investment needed for net zero be delivered without creating adverse impacts on public engagement or the environment? In a new report, Utility Week and Hitachi ABB Powergrids, explore the challenge.
Analysis
With expanding AI capabilities, industries such as the energy, rail and telecommunications are witnessing growth in the adoption of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones). The increase in drone usage has already begun challenging the conventional methods of inspection and maintenance of assets. More importantly, it is showing the value of using innovation to overcome traditional challenges.
Opinion
The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has unveiled a “green recovery pathway” for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, whilst creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Meanwhile, politicians and business leaders from the North West, along with SPEN, Cadent and Electricity North West, have launched an “energy masterplan”.
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