Traditionally electricity networks have been designed to meet the peak load on consumers, with power flowing relatively passively from points of production to points of consumption. Changes in the way that electricity is generated and consumed, coupled with advances in metering, communications and controls systems, are radically changing the ways in which networks are operated and designed.
Actively managed networks, or smart grids, can balance demand and production at different points on the grid allowing more capacity to be connected to the network with less need for reinforcement. This allows for more rapid deployment of low carbon technologies such as distributed renewable generation and electric vehicles, and access to greater volumes of demand side response, enabled by smart meters. Over time, the business model of traditional Distribution Network Operators will evolve to one of a Distribution System Operator.
At Baringa we have been at the forefront of network innovation. We have been involved in several of the UK’s Low Carbon Networks Fund projects working with our clients in designing and implementing technology trials, and on a range of commercial and regulatory issues related to actively managed renewable generation and deployment of electricity storage as a means of deferring network reinforcement. We have analysed the costs and benefits of different smart technologies, and assessed the impacts on network operators’ processes and methodologies. We have also completed a major study of how market arrangements may need to evolve to accommodate greater levels of active network management, focusing on information flows and pricing signals, and importantly on the interaction between the Transmission System Operator and local Distribution System Operators. On the implementation side, we are working with network operators to replace existing network management systems with new solutions that enable smart grids.
Through the combination of our commercial and regulatory expertise, our strong analytical capabilities, and our experience in managing and implementing technology change, we are able to work with our clients through all aspects of designing and implementing network innovation projects.
Viewpoint: The future role of network operators: The emerging active DSO model
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