The energy landscape is rapidly transforming as climate change progresses higher up the agenda, and smart technology advances. Across the industry, we need to take a view of the whole electricity system to make sure that the energy sector moves forwards in a way that helps the country to achieve its net zero target and deliver consumer value.
Andy Wainwright, our business lead for the whole electricity system workstream at the ESO, explains more about what we are doing in this area as part of our Forward Plan commitments, and looking out into RIIO-2 and beyond.
When we talk about the whole electricity system, we are referring to everything that connects the sockets in consumers’ homes, through to the large generators you can see connected to the GB transmission system. To help us achieve our net-zero target and ESO mission, we need to take a rounded view of the entire electricity system. This is becoming increasingly important as systems and infrastructure become more interconnected.
We are progressing the development of whole electricity system by collaborating with others to take a ‘design by doing’ approach. This is where we try out new ideas on a controlled basis and then use the learning to inform future developments. Some examples of where we are trying this approach include our work on Pathfinder Projects and Regional Development Projects.
To develop a common ways of working across the industry, we are also participating in a number major industry reform programmes and initiatives that are currently underway:
In our Forward Plan, we committed to progressing and delivering a range of activities that will help to evolve our traditional ways of working to take into consideration a whole electricity system view. The transformational activities and projects we are undertaking cut across much of the work we are doing within the ESO and exist across multiple timescales. To make it easier to see the progress we are making, we have set out what we are delivering to help us achieve whole electricity system outcomes, in one report.
You can read our full report on how we are developing our approach to whole electricity system here.