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Regional Development Programmes (RDPs)

RDPs look across the whole electricity system to unlock more network capacity, reduce constraints and open new revenue streams for market participants. 

The electricity system is in a period of transition. There’s a shift from energy predominately being supplied by transmission connected generation to a world that includes large volumes of distribution connected generation, flexible demand and storage.

We must consider how this impacts the commercial and technical operation of transmission and distribution networks across the whole system.

National Grid ESO and distributed network operators (DNOs) are working with stakeholders across Great Britain through Regional Development Programmes (RDPs). 

What is a Regional Development Programme?

A Regional Development Programme (RDP) is a project or study that looks at the electricity network across Great Britain. They identify areas of development between transmission and distribution networks in areas with large amounts of distributed energy resources (DERs). A DER is a small-scale power generation that operates locally and is connected to a larger power grid at the distribution level. These can include solar panels, small wind farms etc.

RDPs are designed to unlock additional network capacity, reduce constraints, and open new revenue streams for market participants. They aim to introduce new ways of working that significantly enhance transmission and distribution systems coordination and control, and they provide new tools and resources to manage system constraints – ultimately reducing costs for consumers. They 'design by doing', creating whole system efficiencies as quickly as possible.

If you’d like more information or would like to get involved, please email [email protected]

To find out more please read our factsheet below.

RDP factsheet 

We also provide an overview of all of our RDP projects and work in the last year in the update document below.

RDP April 2022 update

National Grid Electricity Distribution (NGED) MW Dispatch RDP

The South West of England is likely to play a big role in meeting the Government’s green energy targets because there is lots of renewable solar and wind generation in the area. But research showed that it is difficult to absorb that energy on the network. This RDP is analysing what the requirements and capabilities are needed in the area to overcome this challenge at the least cost to the consumer.

What is the most cost-effective way to achieve this? That is a question the project is also trying to answer. Conventional ways of increasing the network, like installing new assets to make the power flow easily, might not be the cheapest option. So the RDP has been looking into alternative options.

The ESO and project partners NGED and UK Power Networks, are working with distributed energy resources (DERs) to help develop a new market solution. This new transmission constraints management service will complement existing market routes, like the Balancing Mechanism and Wider Access Markets.

NGED MW Dispatch webinar – July 2021

NGED MW Dispatch webinar (2) – November 2021

NGED MW Dispatch DER webinar (3) – September 2022 


MW Dispatch responses summary 

MW Dispatch (NGED) - Project Initiation Document 

NGED RDP South-west peninsula technical report

NGED Whole system analysis report

NGED RDP process report

NGED MW Dispatch Service – draft contract documents for industry review

As part of our Regional Development Programmes – MW Dispatch project, we have been working closely with NGED to develop a new tri-party contract structure to enable the deployment of our first, fully coordinated transmission constraint management service. We have now reached an exciting milestone whereby the draft set of contract terms are available to providers of the new service for review and feedback.

This is the first ESO contract developed in full collaboration with a DNO and incorporates many of the outputs from the Open Networks Common Contracts work, which is common across the DNOs. To improve whole system outcomes, there is an intention to further refine and evolve the terms over time. The conclusion of this work acts as another key enabler for the go-live of the project across the south-west of England in early 2023. We’re now offering DER providers time to review the proposed contract terms and provide feedback. This period for feedback closes at 17:00 on 2 December 2022.

All feedback should be addressed to [email protected]ationalgrideso.com.

We are also running a webinar drop-in session on 23 November 2022, where we will be happy take questions relating to the service and the contract terms for the new Transmission Constraint Management Service.

Sign up to our webinar

Service terms and associated product information

Here you can find the MWD service terms, participation guidance, and FAQ documents for information.

RDP MW Dispatch Service Terms
MW Dispatch Participation Guidance September 2022 
MW Dispatch Service Frequently Asked Questions

If you would like to provide any feedback or comments on the MWD Service Terms proposal, please use the form below.

MW Dispatch Provider Comments Feedback Form (Webform) 

Connecting storage in the West Midlands

This RDP is looking to extend the flexibility arrangements given to generation providers so that they apply for storage demand. This will enable storage projects to become part of the solution to network capacity issues, rather than capacity planning standards being a potential blocker to them.

This project seeks to allow energy storage, or other customers who can provide flexibility to the system, to participate in new whole system energy markets. It will also allow them to receive revenues for delivering services when the system requires flexibility to deliver capacity in constrained areas.

We are working with Western Power Distribution (WPD) on this project. It focuses on the transmission assets at the T-D boundary.

RDP battery energy storage paper

UK Power Networks RDP

The aim of this project is to maximise the opportunities for more efficient deployment of distributed resources and reduce overall system costs for energy consumers.

The south-east coast area of England is where the project is focused as it is one of the most complex network areas in Europe. It has several interconnections to continental Europe, either currently in service or due to be commissioned, a nuclear power station, and a significant volume of renewable and traditional energy resources connected to the distribution network.

By unlocking more network capacity, reducing constraints and opening up new revenue streams for market participants, this project will enhance transmission and distribution systems coordination and control. This will create whole system efficiencies and provide new tools and resources to manage system constraints – ultimately reducing costs for customers.

UKPN MW Dispatch webinar – July 2021

South-east coast RDP technical report

Programme factsheet

South-west Scotland RDP

With SP Transmission and SP Distribution, we are working on this RDP which focusses on the south-west of Scotland. There is huge potential for renewable electricity generation in this area, but that requires extensive and costly network reinforcements to get the energy to where it is needed by conventional means.

We’re are looking at new ways to use technology and operational methods to provide cost efficient outcomes for the renewable developments in the region. For the ESO to utilise the full potential of the transmission network in the future in this area of Scotland, both transmission connected generation and distributed energy resources should compete on a fair and equitable basis for access to the network.

Therefore, new arrangements for the connection of developments to the network, and provision of constraint management services will be developed. This will maximise the operation and management of the transmission network in the future. This RDP will create the necessary frameworks to achieve this ambition.

Heysham grid supply point (GSP)

There is a lot of potential for wind resources in the north-west of England. In Heysham, the grid supply point (GSP) has reached thermal capacity limit for reverse power flow, across the existing three Super Grid Transformers (SGTs). It has also reached its switchgear fault level design limit.

Heysham GSP has had around 564MW of distributed energy resources connect to the distribution network since last year. Installation of a new SGT was suggested to add more thermal capacity at the Heysham GSP. However, delivery of an SGT is often an expensive and time consuming solution. The operation of the SGT at full capacity would also be restricted by the existing switchgear’s fault level limitations.

This analyses the Heysham GSP and the distribution network behind to deliver the most economic solution for consumers.