Britain’s energy networks announce ambitious plans for 2022 as efforts to enable net zero are ramped up

Strong progress was made in 2021, however there is much more to do and 2022 will be another important year as collaboration, flexibility and the drive for decarbonisation remain a priority

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Britain’s energy networks have announced ambitious plans for the year ahead, led by Energy Networks Association (ENA) which brings together all of Britain’s network companies and industry stakeholders to help transform the way our energy networks operate through its industry backed Open Networks programme.

Network companies, through ENA, have worked with stakeholders, partners and industry to define the work plan and priorities for the Open Networks programme this year. It sets out a comprehensive view of the direction the world leading programme will take, key aims, timings for outputs and the outcomes it will achieve.

These deliverables, available on ENA’s website, have been published earlier in the year than ever before to better aid transparency of the direction and intentions of the Open Networks programme in 2022.

Key priorities for 2022 include:

  • Flexibility, which remains one of the largest and most important areas of work. This includes delivering a common framework for flexibility services, further developing a standard methodology for DNO’s and delivering key actions from the UK Government’s 2021 Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan.
  • Adopting a revised and more collaborative governance approach to work more closely with the industry in delivering the programme. This includes introducing two new stakeholder engagement groups – a Challenge Group and Dissemination Forum – which will launch in Q1.
  • Continuing to focus on informing and implementing key policy in the transition to Distribution System Operation (DSO) and providing an overarching role to monitor and steer developments.
  • Further progressing our whole energy system work across gas and electricity networks to address key strategic industry challenges in the move to Net Zero; working alongside ENA’s Gas Goes Green project, UK Government, Ofgem and industry to achieve this.

In addition, the programme will retain an adaptable approach to delivery to ensure that the latest industry developments and practical learnings are considered.

Farina Farrier, Head of Open Networks at Energy Networks Association, said:

“This is an ambitious and essential body of work to progress the transition, with 24 extensive products across six workstreams.

“With around 3GW of flexibility available for tender in Great Britain in 2021, the programme’s work has helped the UK to establish world leading local flexibility markets, and in 2022 we aim to deliver key actions from Government’s Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan.

“It will be another busy but productive year as we get a step closer to Government’s 2035 clean energy source target for UK’s electricity and the ultimate goal of Net Zero, and we look forward to rising to the challenge.”

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Open Networks Chair and Head of Smart Grid Development at UK Power Networks, said:

“2022 marks the fifth anniversary of ENA’s Open Networks, and through its work over the past five years the programme has introduced real momentum into the transition to a smart and flexible energy system.

“The programme aims to continue to set out a clear delivery pathway this year, drawing on the expertise of network companies, Ofgem, UK Government and wider industry to develop, facilitate and progress the necessary steps that will improve transparency, boost new flexibility markets, and secure the supply of clean, low-carbon energy.”