With increasing congestion on the electricity transmission system, a long lead time for network reinforcement, and fundamental market reform under consideration by the government’s Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA), the ESO is launching the Constraints Collaboration project. This project is intended to enable the ESO and industry to work together to find solutions for thermal constraints, which can be implemented and deliver results in the short term. By results, we mean reducing costs to the consumer or reducing the curtailment of renewable generation (at no additional costs to consumers). 


Transmission thermal constraint costs are increasing year on year as more renewable projects come online. The majority of constraint management actions taken by the ESO involve the redispatch or curtailment of generators, leading to increasing cost and carbon impact. ESO Electricity Ten Year Statement details that the flows of electricity across Scottish boundaries are expected to triple between 2022 and 2030, with associated costs estimated at between £500m to £3bn annually by 2030 and significant amounts of wasted renewable energy. 

Both traditional network reinforcements and fundamental reform of the wholesale market will address these issues, but these take significant time so we must explore other options to reduce constraint costs in the short term. 

We are aware that alongside the ESO, the issue of constraint management is being considered by many in industry, with potential solutions being discussed at different forums. Part of the intention of this project is to collate different potential solutions, allowing us all to build on each other’s ideas and develop solutions, which are supported by both industry and the ESO. 

How to participate
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Submit your ideas to address thermal constraints

You should submit your ideas by Friday 29 February 2024.  The form contains a clear problem statement, as well as information about what the ESO needs in order for a new market solution to be successful. There is a template to be completed, which will help us be able to assess the proposals in a consistent way.

See this template for reference on how to fill out the form.

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Submit your views

We’d love to hear your views on  the Market based solutions proposed by industry so far.

The feedback you provide will help us develop the idea and test its feasibility. Submit your views on:

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Sign up to our drop-in sessions in February

In the interim, you can attend by to our drop-in sessions in February, where we will to provide a summary of ideas already submitted and provide the opportunity to discuss the ideas and where possible, build on them to make sure that they’re fully addressing the scope and objectives of the Market Design Framework. 

If you have questions, get in touch with us at [email protected].

What we’re trying to achieve

We will use this page as a central repository for all ideas submitted and enable commentary and the development of ideas in a collaborative way. In partnership with industry, we will assess the potential new ways of addressing the costs of thermal constraint, focusing initially on the network boundaries with the highest volumes of thermal constraints as highlighted by the Electricity Ten Year Statement. Any potential solution should be implementable ahead of significant planned physical infrastructure and be complementary to any wider code or wholesale market reforms.

We will assess any proposed market-based solution against the ESO’s Market Design Framework (MDF), which aims to assess the trade-offs between (i) efficient dispatch, (ii) efficient investment and (iii) value for money.  Any solution also needs to be technology agnostic, not impact adversely on system operation, administratively feasible for ESO and does not require legislative changes.  Once we have assessed the different options, we will share the outcome and any projects we see as a viable option to take forward for further development. 

Our desired outcome is a scope for a new product(s) co-designed with industry, which we can progress to detailed scoping and delivery. 

High level engagement timeline

Stay tuned with ESO News-Plugged In for our upcoming session(s).  Not subscribed? to get Plugged In delivered directly to your inbox each week, subscribe here.


Activity Indicative Timeline 
ESO industry webinar on thermal constraints management 18 January 2024
Six-week industry collaboration period live on webpage 18 January – 29 February 2024
MDF assessment of best ideas March – June 2024
Publish results of assessment plus preferred option(s) Summer 2024
Reference material

Previous events

Watch the recorded presentations by pressing the play icon on the image or download the slides from each session using the link above the image.  

Sharing ideas for the constrains collaboration project webinar - 9 February

This webinar gives an overview of the market-based solutions proposed by the industry so far.

Finding solutions for thermal constraints webinar – 18 January

This webinar provides guidance on how industry can submit ideas to address thermal constraints and participate in this collaboration project.


Please note that this collaboration is not a formal part of any procurement exercise and does not indicate a formal or firm commitment for future commercial opportunities from the ESO. Submitting this collaboration also does not commit you or your organisation to any specific course of action.