National Grid ESO Energy forecasting Manager

Forward Plan End of Year Report 2019/20

Every year we publish a Forward Plan that describes what we’re planning to do, to create value for our customers, stakeholders and energy consumers. This allows them to hold us to account for delivery and enhances our levels of transparency, engagement and accountability. Today we are keen to share with you our 2019/2020 Forward Plan End of Year Report. In this report, we set out the activities we have delivered from April 2019 to the end of March 2020, along with supporting evidence. 

COVID-19 has not had a significant impact on what we were tasked with delivering in the 2019/2020 financial year. However due to the impact of COVID-19 we have had to make some decisions on activity planned for 2020/2021 - to find out more please read our update.

Here is what Craig Dyke – Head of Strategy and Regulation here at the ESO, has to say.

The last year has been a very busy and exciting time for the ESO. We have delivered lots of innovative, world-first projects to help the UK in its mission to achieve net-zero by 2050, while also thinking about the things we can do in the future as we transform the energy system. We are really proud of the things we have achieved as a business, in our first year as a legally separate ESO.  These achievements wouldn’t have been possible without our stakeholders and industry partners – so a big thank you from us to everyone involved.

We’ve made lots of progress over the past year. Some projects really stand out for us and take us ever closer to achieving our ESO ambitions and a cleaner, greener future:

  • Improving access to the balancing mechanism (BM). In 2019-20 we have continued to improved access to the Balancing Mechanism. We have made sure that the BM is open to all technologies and by increasing competition in the Balancing Mechanism market, 24% of all new units registered are new aggregated Balancing Mechanism units and Virtual Lead Parties (VLP). 1.85GW of new registered capacity has been registered from 42 new aggregated Balancing Mechanism units, and in April 2020 we saw the first VLP go-live in the Balancing Mechanism - with several parties currently progressing through the application process.


  • Pathfinder projects. We are running a series of world-first, pathfinding projects looking for new and innovative solutions from the industry to solve the challenges associated with operating a low carbon electricity network, including grid stability, constraint management and voltage control. The solutions we hope to find through these pathfinding projects are vital for helping us to achieve our zero-carbon by 2025 ambition, and for continuing to deliver a safe and reliable electricity system.


  • A new ESO data portal. Digitalisation is really important in enabling the energy transformation. We have designed and put in place a new data portal that we are using to publish our real-time data. This allows us to be more transparent with our stakeholders and means that they can access the data they need in a user-friendly format. Improving the quality and amount of data available will help to transform the way that we operate the electricity grid, allowing us to operate a zero-carbon electricity system by 2025.


As we rise to the challenge of operating the electricity system in ever-changing conditions, there is always more work to do – and more for us to learn.  We use the feedback we get from our stakeholders to inform all our future plans, so that we continue delivering what consumers and our stakeholders need.  If you’ve got any feedback you’d like to share please email [email protected].

You can read our executive summary here, or for more detailed information on what we’ve achieved read the full 2019/2020 Forward Plan End of Year report.