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Whole electricity system

On this page, you’ll find out how the new stand-alone ESO is using a whole electricity system approach with our stakeholders to deliver services efficiently and effectively. This video will show you how, in our changing energy landscape, taking a whole system view will also create consumer value and promote zero carbon operation.

The whole electricity system is changing

The way we generate and use electricity is changing, driven by the challenges of decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitisation.

This is creating new opportunities across the whole electricity system. As the Electricity System Operator, we need to work with our stakeholders on a whole system approach to use these opportunities to deliver value for the consumer.

Through the Open Networks project and initiatives such as the Regional Development Programmes, we’re working collaboratively to develop new ways of working.

Facilitating whole electricity system outcomes

New decentralised energy resources, such as wind farms and solar energy, are connecting to distribution networks, making them into active networks and transforming the role of Distribution Network Operators (DNOs).

Many of these stakeholders can provide valuable services to us including these emerging Distribution System Operators (DSOs). In addition, smart technologies mean many consumers don’t just use power – they can put it back into the system too. This leads to innovative ways of designing and operating transmission and distribution networks.

The traditional distinctions between transmission and distribution networks and processes are blurring. We need a whole system approach with our stakeholders to deliver services efficiently and effectively.

Ofgem recognises this need and, as the new stand-alone ESO, has tasked us with ‘facilitating whole system outcomes’ working with other stakeholders to transform the industry.



National Grid ESO response to Ofgem position paper on Distribution System Operation (DSO)

National Grid ESO considers DSO to be a fundamental part of whole electricity system development. We are committed to working with Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) and other parties to facilitate the transition to DSO. Here we provide our response to Ofgem’s recent position paper on DSO.

Download the paper

Facilitating whole electricity system outcomes - Commercial Interfaces with DER

We have prepared this paper to promote discussion on how decentralised energy resources can efficiently provide services to both NGESO and DSOs in a coordinated manner. To date, we have used the paper to support conversations with DNO’s, Ofgem and BEIS.

We’re interested to hear your views – please use the link below to join the conversation.

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Join the conversation

Facilitating whole electricity system outcomes - how the ESO is working with stakeholders to transform the energy landscape

The traditional distinctions between transmission and distribution networks and processes are blurring. We need a whole system approach with our stakeholders to deliver services efficiently and effectively. As a stand-alone ESO we need to work with other stakeholders to facilitate whole system outcomes.

This paper discusses how the ESO role is changing to facilitate whole system outcomes and how this links to both the ESO roles and the Open Networks Project.

Download the paper

Whole electricity system thinking - how the ESO can support a transition that delivers consumer value

This paper looks at a world where the ESO works closely with DSOs to ensure routes to local, regional and national markets are optimised, in order to create value for the end consumer. We believe that this world provides a credible whole electricity system vision - but recognise that there are other potential pathways that need to be considered.

Here, we consider the key topics that we believe we need to focus on to deliver this future landscape. We are interested in your views -please email [email protected]

Download the Paper

Whole Electricity System Development - how the ESO is working with others to facilitate the future energy landscape

National Grid ESO is undertaking a wide range of activities to inform the development of Whole Electricity System. We achieve this through working with others and taking a ‘design by doing’ approach. This paper further describes our approach and what successful outcomes will look like for us. Additionally, recognising the wide range of initiatives the ESO is involved in, we have developed this document to provide a reference at this point in time for all relevant transformational activities.

Download the paper

Programmes and projects 

How we are developing new ways to facilitate whole electricity outcomes.

Regional Development Programmes

RDP looks across the whole-system landscape for areas of development for additional network capacity, reduce constraints, and open up new revenue streams for market participants.

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Power Potential

This project aims to create a new reactive power market for distributed energy resources (DER) and generate additional capacity on the network.

Find out more

Open Networks

The Open Networks Project is a major energy industry initiative that will transform the way our energy networks work, underpinning the delivery of the smart grid. 

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Stakeholder initiatives

How you can help to develop whole electricity system arrangements.

Power Responsive

Power Responsive is a stakeholder-led programme to stimulate increased participation in the different forms of flexible technology such as demand side response (DSR) and storage. 

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Charging Futures

One place for electricity network users to learn, contribute and shape the reform of GB's electricity network access and charging arrangements.

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Future Worlds (Open Networks)

We have been heavily involved in the development of the Future Worlds Consultation, which takes a whole system view of potential future industry arrangements. This consultation, supported by publicly available modelling, provides insights for the impact of potential industry arrangements on a wide range of industry stakeholders. We would encourage all interested parties to review and respond to this consultation to ensure both our work, and that of the Open Networks project, takes account a broad range of views. This consultation closes on 25 September 2018.

Find out more

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