The building blocks for our net zero future
Introduction from Andrew Roper, Distribution System Operations Director, SSEN Distribution
Our journey to net zero is well underway. The Climate Change Committee have been clear that uptake of low carbon technologies, necessary to deliver net zero targets, could almost treble GB electricity demand by 2050. This will need new system capacity to manage the growth in connections and meet customer demand. Our holistic approach takes advantage of all available technologies to optimise our existing network; maximise the opportunity from flexibility contracts and connections; and leverage whole system opportunities before we commit to investing in new network.
We are fully committed to a fair transition that leaves nobody behind. The net zero future offers considerable opportunities but also the risk that new forms of unfairness will be embedded into the system. With the right data, forecasting, regulations, skills and investment, we can ensure a transition that is smart and fair.
Our DSO plan in action
What does the UK's future energy ecosystem look like?
Electricity DNOs are critical enablers of the UK’s ambition to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The development of DSO capabilities will lead to additional, cost-effective energy capacity to meet the expected growth in future demand from a changing energy network. Our role will be to deliver new marketplaces for flexibility services through an adapted and enhance infrastructure, rich in opportunities for customers to get involved.
Creating opportunities for stakeholders
Our customers and stakeholders have been clear with their priorities and what they expect from DSO services. By understanding their needs we can make sure the different functions and services of DSO can match their requirements.
How you can engage with DSO opportunities
We will develop capabilities, systems and processes over RIIO-ED2 to enable scaling up of DSO to deliver net zero, delivering 3.7GW of flexible connection capacity, saving £417million of reinforcement costs, and 5GW of flexibility services through new markets and with new customers.
Smart and local benefits for our communities
Through developing our DSO capabilities to operate at scale, customers will experience the positive impact of increased flexibility used to manage our network: a more reliable, affordable and decarbonised energy system. Our DSO strategy fully supports local ambitions and the geographical considerations of our two distinct networks.
What you can expect and when from DSO services
Customers can already access improved data and forecasting publications and we will add to these from the start of RIIO-ED2 (April 2023). This is also where you will find the action plan timeline for the first two years of ED2.
What does good look like for DSO?
We have set out a proposal for the high-level design of our three DSO performance metrics which will allow stakeholders and Ofgem to monitor and evaluate our progress during RIIO-ED2. These metrics will be built into Ofgem’s DSO Output Delivery Incentive (ODI) which, once ratified, will effectively incentivise our performance.
We are working to understand how the demands on our networks are likely to change over the next decade. This will help us plan how we will support our demand or generation customers through network investment or flexibility. To support this process, we commissioned Regen to complete a set of future electricity scenarios for our Southern and Northern network distribution licence areas out to 2035. These studies are informed by National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios.
Future Energy Scenarios - Scotland
Future Energy Scenarios - England
Have you just purchased or considering buying an electric vehicle or heat pump?
The UK and Scottish Governments have set ambitious targets to rapidly increase heat pump and zero-emission heating system installations in the coming decade and that all new cars and vans would be zero emission by 2035. SSEN is committed to ensuring this transition is managed fairly for the households, businesses, and communities it serves.
We are committed to finding and developing flexible solutions for our customers to allow them to connect at an earlier stage.
We have developed a suite of alternative and flexible connections to allow generation customers to connect to our network as a temporary or permanent alternative to reinforcement.
If you're looking to connect to the grid, you can find out more information on our flexible connections page.
We are looking for flexibility service providers for CMZ contracts our Scotland and England network areas.
If you own, operate, or plan to develop a Distributed Energy Resource (DER) our network areas, visit our flexibility services page and follow the steps to register.
You can access information on the rating and capacity of our network assets with links to our network maps and Active Network Management on our network capacity information page.
Our register provides information on generation and storage resources (≥1MW) that are connected, or accepted to connect, to the electricity distribution networks owned and operated by us and it will be updated on a monthly basis.
SSEN is working closely with the energy industry and regulator, Ofgem, to develop plans for the future structure and governance of DSO. Ofgem published a Call for Input in April 2022 and our response can be read here. Our response was informed by research commissioned into the structure of DSO from economics consultancy, NERA, which can be read here.
How are we transforming for a net zero world?
Discover more of what we are doing and how it will benefit our customers and the future of our electricity networks on our dedicated website here.