Energy networks

Editor's picks

Concerns have been raised over the deliberate wasting of energy to provide flexibility after load banks – devices for creating dummy loads to test power supplies such as backup generators – were accepted into an ad hoc service to increase demand on the power grid. The load banks were entered into the Optional Downward Flexibility Management service introduced by National Grid Electricity System Operator as an emergency measure to deal with low demand on the power grid over the summer of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
News
Ofgem has paused its plans to expose smaller distributed generators to forward-looking transmission network charges after receiving opposition from a “large majority” of the respondents to its consultation on the proposals. However, the regulator said it continues to hold the view that “smaller generators should pay charges equivalent to larger generators where they have an equivalent impact on the network.”
News
One of the backers of a controversial plan for a new interconnector between France and the UK has threatened legal action within weeks against Kwasi Kwarteng’s decision to block the project. Alexander Temerko, an ex-head of Russian oil company Yukos and director of Aquind since 2016, also threatened legal action against trade minister Penny Mordaunt, who has been one of the leaders of the campaign against the cable that would come ashore in Portsmouth in her capacity as a local MP.
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Featured

To achieve their ambitious decarbonisation targets, local authorities must get to grips with a complex and evolving energy system. But, as UK100 chief executive Polly Billington argues, the energy sector must also do its part in seeking to understand the needs and the capabilities of local government. She talks to Lucinda Dann about how the sector is doing so far and why local area energy planning must happen with councils, rather than to them.
Interviews
Business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said networks’ response to storm must improve, describing power cuts of longer than three days as “unacceptable.” Appearing before the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee to answer questions about November’s Storm Arwen, which left some households without power for more than a week, the minister also rejected a suggestion that networks’ resilience to such events should have been stress tested by Ofgem.
News
The Energy Networks Associations has set out its plans for its Open Networks project in 2022, which will continue to focus on heavily standardising and coordinating flexibility services. The ENA said the industry initiative, which was launched in 2017 to accelerate the transition to a smart, flexible energy system, has enabled the UK to establish “world leading” local flexibility markets, with contracts for more than 3GW of flexibility being made available for tender in Great Britain last year.
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Latest in Energy networks

National Grid Ventures has agreed to repay £200 million of excess interconnector revenues ahead of schedule to help bring down energy bills over the next two years. The repayments will cover the IFA2 interconnector to France, the Nemo link to Belgium and the North Sea link to Norway, all of which operate under Ofgem’s Cap and Floor regime.
News
The government has confirmed that the retail price cap will be extended beyond 2023 in the first energy bill for nearly a decade, which also contains emergency powers to ensure resilience and continuity of fuel supplies. The Energy Security Bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech in Tuesday (10 May), will contain powers to enable the extension of the price cap , which the government described as the "best safety net for millions".
News
Cadent engineers began taking part in a ban on overtime on Tuesday (10 May) as part of a dispute over pay, the GMB Union has confirmed. In April field-force workers rejected a 2% pay increase for 2021 and 4% from July this year and subsequently voted to walk out in a strike ballot.
News
Ofgem has set out the new challenges for the second round of its Strategic Innovation Fund, which will begin accepting applications in September 2022. The second round will seek to address four innovation challenges and will be the first to be open to electricity distribution networks.
News
A new regulatory framework is required to help finance the upfront grid investment seen as key for cost effective delivery of net zero, while protecting consumers, National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has argued. Responding to the Welsh Affairs Committee’s ongoing inquiry into grid capacity in Wales, the ESO said this would help to solve a “chicken and egg” concerning investment in new generation and transmission capacity.
News
This week's roundup of national news coverage includes reports of households resorting to ‘buy now pay later’ loans to cover bills amid reports that a windfall tax on energy giants would not harm UK pension pots, but separately that such a tax would fail to deliver the desired relief to billpayers. Scottish Power’s Keith Anderson warned of a ‘horrific winter’ for customers if the government does not majorly intervene and elsewhere delays in renewables projects threaten the pace of net zero.
News
Energy UK has called for the inclusion of a new legislation in the Queen’s speech on Tuesday (10 May) to set the foundations for the energy system over the next decade. The organisation said there has been no major energy legislation since 2013, during which time the sector has changed dramatically. It said a new Energy Bill is now needed to put in place the necessary framework and powers to deliver on the government’s climate commitments.
News
Well-intended initiatives by energy companies to improve gender equality in the industry are failing to consistently deliver, in part due to unsupportive company cultures, a new report has revealed. The Powerful Women group highlighted multiple issues including the inconsistent quality and accessibility of mentoring and coaching programmes and the reluctance of women to take advantage of flexible working policies for fear of being overlooked for career opportunities.
News
Western Power Distribution has agreed to pay out £14.9 million into Ofgem's voluntary redress fund following a series of failings regarding its priority services register (PSR). The two-year investigation into the network operator found it failed to promptly notify and update some of its 1.7 million PSR customers who were affected by power cuts about when supplies would be restored and what assistance was available.
News
Ofgem has opted to reduce connection charges for distribution network customers as part of its significant code review of network access arrangements. Network operators will also be required to offer larger users standardised flexible connection options with clear curtailment limits and end dates.
News
Ben Godfrey, distribution system operator manager at Western Power Distribution, discusses the company’s efforts to “turbo-charge” the market for flexibility, including through its Flexible Power platform that been adopted by all but one of the distribution network operators in Great Britain and its Intraflex trial of continuous close-to-real-time trading.  
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