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DSO transition initiatives announced by Northern Powergrid

Tom Andrews Senior Analyst

On 21 December, Northern Powergrid (NPG) published its flexibility plan and “version 1.0” of its distribution system operator (DSO) transition plan. The distribution network operator (DNO), which provides distribution services to customers in the north-east of England, operates two regions: the former North East and Yorkshire regions, covering the eastern half of England from the Scottish border in the north to mid-Lincolnshire in the south. Gross peak demand on the network is currently just under 7GW and, depending on the forecast, is expected to grow by up to 1GW over the next decade to 2028 and as much as 4GW over the next 20 years. Distribution connected generation connected to NPG’s network has grown from 1GW to 4GW over the last decade. Most of this is onshore wind (over 2GW), with substantial elements of biomass generation (around 1.2GW). This is also expected to grow significantly. This strategy sets a road-map to 2030, with numerous specific actions the DNO plans to implement, although it is expected to be amended following consultation. Flexible consumption The cornerstone of the first phase of NPG’s DSO transition is its customer flexibility plan. It intends to use customer flexibility to defer spending on traditional network reinforcement, to manage the risk of power cuts during long maintenance periods, and to provide emergency support during unplanned power cuts. NPG signed up to the Piclo platform – which all GB DNOs are now members of – in September 2018. Figure 1 opposite is a view of the Piclo Flex dashboard, ...

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