World-leading ENA programme marks five years of industry collaboration

The first five years of collaboration across Britain’s energy networks has delivered transformational change to a smarter, more flexible energy system in the UK

Big Zero Report 2023

The first five years of collaboration across Britain’s energy networks and the wider energy sector – through Energy Networks Association’s (ENA) world-leading Open Networks programme – has delivered transformational change to a smarter, more flexible energy system in the UK.

To mark five years of developing the smart grid, today ENA has launched a new online hub which sets out the milestones achieved to date – and this is only the beginning of the revolution.

Since 2017, working alongside network companies, Ofgem, UK Government and others in the energy industry, ENA’s Open Networks programme has introduced real momentum in transforming the way our energy networks operate. This includes:

  • Delivering more than 350 products including tools, reports, methodologies and frameworks, helping to bring further standardisation and transparency
  • Supporting the substantial growth of flexibility made available to the market for tendering – from around 0.1GW to almost 3GW1 – the largest in Europe
  • Receiving recognition in key publications such as UK Government’s Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan2 and RIIO-2 guidance for Re-opener applications3
  • Mapping out pathways to the Distribution System Operation (DSO) – from the definition phase to publishing an implementation plan with more than 540 steps last year
  • Working with dozens of innovation projects to test proposals and take learnings on board – with examples available through the online hub’s case study section
  • Launching 14 consultations across all work areas
  • Working with more than 300 industry stakeholders to help inform and shape the programme.

In addition to the online hub, ENA will be marking the anniversary throughout the year with a range of activities including industry events, webinars, podcasts and digital activity.

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

“A smarter, more flexible energy system is fundamental to reaching the government’s decarbonisation commitments. The last five years has seen the Open Networks programme bring stakeholders together to work collaboratively, create solutions and build a smart grid that will deliver a Net Zero future for all.

“As we pass the five-year anniversary, we will strive to build on existing successes and go even faster forward to create Net Zero networks, boosting new flexibility markets, and securing the supply of clean, low-carbon energy.”

Moving forward, the programme will continue to focus on delivering at pace, including:

  • Further developing UK local flexibility markets and delivering a common framework for flexibility by March 2023 to support more cost-effective energy in the long term
  • Standardising and simplifying processes to make market participation more accessible to a wider number of individuals and organisations
  • Working better together between the gas and electricity networks, and across the energy sector, so customers have the best possible solution
  • Being more transparent and sharing data to ultimately help people connect to the networks more quickly and efficiently.

More information on priorities for this year are available in the Open Networks 2022 Work Plan.

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