Electricity transmission/distribution

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All six electricity distribution network operators (DNOs) across Great Britain have now submitted their draft business plans for the RIIO-ED2 price control to Ofgem, with spending plans amounting to £23.2 billion. Utility Week looks into the details.
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Ofgem has granted urgent status to a Grid Code modification proposed by SSE to address an issue over the fault ride through requirements for generators. SSE raised the modification after National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) instructed generators to temporarily restrict their output in instances where they did not stay connected and continue operating during a “normal” fault. The ESO said it has seen a “growing number" of these incidents which present a "serious risk" to the power grid.
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DNOs regularly publish Distribution Future Energy Scenarios, but these often overlook the developing complexity on the low voltage networks. As UW Innovate reports, WPD has now devised a new methodology, called EPIC, to capture data from local authorities and use it for more sensitive and localised analysis.
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Brexit has pushed the UK to the “back of the queue” for developing interconnectors, Sir Ed Davey has claimed. The former energy and climate change secretary of state said that he “never found any European rules that got in the way” of the UK’s renewable energy push.
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National Grid has successfully erected the world’s first T-pylon. It represents the first newly-designed electricity pylon to be introduced to Great Britain for nearly a century.
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Latest in Electricity transmission/distribution

The Energy Networks Association has launched a consultation on the next version of its standard contract for flexibility services. Stakeholders have been invited to help shape the third iteration of the contract, which was first agreed in April last year and streamlined in an update in March.
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Utility Week speaks to Paul Jewell, DSO development manager for Western Power Distribution (WPD), about its new two-pronged distribution system operator (DSO) strategy that is split between services that could be provided by either itself or a third party and “system enablers” that will be required by both.
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National Grid and SSE have unveiled plans to supply heat networks with waste heat captured from electricity network transformers. They said the innovative solution offers a source of zero-carbon heat when applied to transformers powered by renewable electricity and could save millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide each year if rolled out across National Grid’s 350 transformers.
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Ofgem has granted National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) a derogation from one of its license conditions to allow the body to limit flows across interconnectors to reduce the size of the largest potential loss on the power grid.  The ESO said the capability is necessary as the drop in frequency resulting from the loss of an interconnector could otherwise become too large to contain during a period of low inertia.
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Utility Week speaks to David Joffe, head of carbon budgets at the Climate Change Committee, following the release of the government’s “twin track” hydrogen strategy and a controversial US study that claimed that using blue hydrogen could have a greater impact on global warming than burning natural gas.
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National Grid has announced that its work to lay underground cables through the Mendip Hills in Somerset as part of the connection of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant to the transmission network is now 60 per cent complete. The 400,000-volt cables are being installed along an 8.5-kilometre route from Loxton in the south to Sandford in the north to avoid the use of overhead power lines in the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
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National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has partnered with the non-profit startup Open Climate Fix to develop a “first-of-a-kind” near-term forecasting service for solar generation using artificial intelligence. The ESO said the “nowcasting” service will allow its control room to minimise the amount of fossil fuel generation held in reserve to cover swings in solar output as clouds move across the sky, lowering both emissions and costs.
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The provisional decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) earlier this week to uphold the cost of equity set by Ofgem for the RIIO2 price controls represents a “victory” for the regulator, one of its former partners has stated.  However, the transmission and gas distribution have also landed some "punches" with their appeal against Ofgem’s final determinations after the CMA concluded the regulator should not have applied a downward adjustment the baseline rate of returns to account for expected outperformance.
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Reactive Technologies has secured $15 million (£12.7 million) of investment from BGF, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Eaton to export its innovative inertia measurement service around the world. The Grid Metrix technology, which the company described as “sonar” for the power grid, allows the inertia of the electricity system to be accurately monitored in real time by sending out pulses of energy and measuring the effect on frequency.
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The government is revamping its heat and buildings strategy, amidst reports that flagship proposals to ban new gas boiler installations from 2035 onwards are being watered down. Utility Week has been told that the strategy is being redrafted to address concerns amongst Conservative politicians about the potential cost and disruption the proposals could mean for consumers.
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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued its provisional decision on the appeals brought by all of the transmission and gas distribution networks against their final determinations for the RIIO2 price controls, largely upholding Ofgem’s decision to drastically reduce returns to investors. However, the CMA has ruled against Ofgem’s decision to set allowed equity returns 25 basis points below its actual estimate of the cost of equity.
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