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SPEN Preparing for Net Zero November 2021 Newsletter

Dear Mark

Please find below the November 2021 edition of the SP Energy Networks ICE monthly newsletter highlighting the important work we are doing to Prepare for Net Zero.

EV- The installation of 11 rapid bus chargers at its Caledonia Depot means First Bus can now fully charge its electric bus fleet in just four hours

SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund has invested nearly £1.5m to enable the decarbonisation of First Glasgow’s buses, firstly by funding two new all-electric buses that were launched in 2020, and more recently to provide the additional infrastructure needed to connect these new rapid chargers.

To provide the additional capacity required to deliver phase two, a new £6m substation funded through the Green Recovery investment scheme will be constructed on land provided by First Bus near the Caledonia Depot by the end of 2022. This reinforcement of the network south of the River Clyde will create additional headroom to ensure local businesses, amenities and housing can decarbonise the transport system without concerns over capacity and security of the electricity supply.

First Bus hopes in future to be able to charge up to 300 electric buses at the Caledonia Depot. Phase two will deliver an additional 69 rapid chargers, providing the capacity to charge 162 vehicles at one time. First Bus will also have the capability to charge 89% of the depot’s electric bus fleet at the same time using smart charging software.

To find out more about the Green Economy Fund and the projects it supports please click here

Heat - SP Energy Networks support UK Government Heat and Buildings and Net Zero Stratergies

We welcome and are ready to support the UK Government’s newly published Heat and Buildings and Net Zero strategies, outlining how the decarbonisation of the UK economy will be key to tackling the climate emergency.

The strategies include ambitious plans to invest over £3.9billion from 2022 to 2025 on initiatives and work programmes that will specifically support the delivery of the decarbonisation of heat, and over £40billion on wider activities to help us reach the UK’s ambitious Net Zero by 2050 target by decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy.

They set out specific policies and proposals for driving energy efficiency in homes, preparing the network for the increased demand in low carbon technologies, delivering actions that will maximise system flexibility, reforming system governance so the whole system can achieve decarbonisation ambitions, and crucially, ensuring customers pay a fair, affordable price for their energy and can engage with a market that offers choices supportive of Net Zero.

Our CEO, Frank Mitchell, said: “As an operator of critical national infrastructure at the heart of delivering the decarbonisation targets for the UK, we welcome this strategic vision from government to drive forward the energy transition and are pleased to see it reflects the scale of the challenge ahead.

Flexibility – SP Energy Networks accepts more than 500MW of flexibility bids in latest tender

SP Energy Networks has accepted bids of 555MW of flexibility services following its Spring round of tendering and will build on this success with a second flexibility tender this year in a bid to drive innovation forward in the industry.

The network operator is developing smarter, more flexible network solutions to meet the evolving needs of its customers and drive towards ambitious Net Zero emissions targets. Part of this evolution is the use of flexibility services, which can reduce or defer the need for traditional reinforcement of the network. Flexibility involves working with customers who can control their electricity demand or how much they generate. This unlocks capacity in the existing infrastructure, meaning greener technologies such as electric vehicles and heating systems can connect to the network more quickly.

In its latest round of tendering, SP Energy Networks issued a call for flexibility services for the period between 2023 and 2028. In total 1.4GW of capacity was sought at all voltage levels with 555MW of bids now being accepted. These bids, in addition to the capacity we have already contracted, could provide over 700MW of flexibility services to be available, which is the equivalent of 100,000 Electric Vehicles charging on the network.

In its second tender this year, SP Energy Networks is seeking of 110MW flexibility services for the next three years. This has the potential to enable over 800MW of flexibility services which will help to not only reduce costs for customers, but also mitigate the need for traditional reinforcement.

Gerard Boyd, Acting Head of DSO, at SP Energy Networks, said: “The response to our latest flexibility tender is extremely encouraging, and is a clear sign that the market is becoming more aware of our requirements and the opportunities that flexibility services represent.”

“Flexibility will play a major role in the development of a smarter energy network, and I’m proud we’re at the forefront of developing this emerging market. We are exploring flexibility as a solution for a range of network challenges, considering it alongside smart solutions and network reinforcement, ultimately selecting the most cost-effective solution for our customers.”

This latest tender activity follows SP Energy Networks’ recent ground-breaking trial across Flintshire in Wales, testing the utilisation of reactive power to solve network constraints. The trial – the first of its kind for a UK DNO - explored the use of low carbon technology connected to the electricity network to generate power to balance the system, and having proven to be such a success, has now set the foundations for the network operator to continue to develop reactive power as a flexible solution.

SP Energy Networks is also continuously exploring markets for flexibility with new and existing customers who are able and willing to control how much they generate or who can control their demand. As part of this, the leading network provider is working closely with British renewable energy group, Octopus Energy, to develop demand turn-up solutions to help balance the network. This will involve asking domestic customers to shift their energy use to times where there is excess generation in a local area, via pricing and tariff signals.

Customers interested in providing flexibility services can find further information by clicking here or by emailing

Innovation- Our Innovative Fusion Project publishes Interim trail learnings

In the first of what will be a series of six-monthly updates, we are pleased to be able to share our latest Interim Trial Learning Report on our FUSION project – a flagship innovation project focused on trialling local demand-side flexibility in East Fife.

Whilst the trial only went live in September of this year, the report still provides valuable insights into our journey to achieving “go-live”, feedback from our aggregators and the platform provider themselves on their experience in successfully implementing the Universal Smart Energy Framework (USEF) that’s a big part of the project, and our learning objectives for phase 1 which the trial has been designed to address.

Ahead of delivery phase one of the project commencing in September, one of the key components of the project set up was the FUSION Flexibility Platform (FFP), to support delivery of flexibility trials in East Fife.

In collaboration with our project partners, we developed a series of functional requirements that we needed the FFP to meet – covering the USEF process and the role of the DSO amongst other factors.

A number of objectives were set for Phase 1 of the project including; evaluating the feasibility, costs and benefits of implementing a common flexibility market, investigating a range of commercial mechanisms to encourage participation, how this approach could support the role of the Distribution System Operator, and crucially, how it can be integrated in grid operations. The trial was therefore designed to address these and a number of other critical factors, with outcomes then being taken forward into phase 2 to further develop the approach.

The learnings from Phase 1 of the trial will be evaluated in March 2022 and the project team will then be preparing for phase 2 commencing in April 2022 – addressing real congestion in East Fife.

We’ll be sharing more on project FUSION in the coming months, but in the meantime you can read the full Interim Trial Learnings Report (opens in a new window) here

Community- Generation Green Mural unveiled on one of our Glasgow Substations

A stunning new addition to Glasgow’s iconic mural trail has been revealed, as the city looks forward to a greener future in the wake of the UN Climate Change Conference.

The mural has been produced by world-renowned street artist, ‘Smug’ on the face of our Newton Street Substation building, on the banks of Glasgow’s former industrial heartland, the River Clyde. Titled ‘Generation Green’ to call for a greener energy future for the next generation, the mural will be a permanent addition to Glasgow’s art scene, marking the legacy of COP26 in the city.

The artwork depicts a child planting wind turbines in a picturesque autumnal Scottish landscape, as though planting a greener future. Dressed for the seasonal Scottish weather, a scarf blows in the wind behind the child who has a toy spade by their side. The landscape features heather-covered mountains as well as a burn, standing stones and trees, peppered with turbines with fresh earth at their base as if the child has just planted them.

Net Zero Knowledge Forum

The purpose of the net zero community is to provide information and support for all stakeholders in facilitating the UK, Welsh and Scottish Governments net zero targets. To enable this a strong Governance framework will be set up to ensure we create a knowledge community that is timely, effective, efficient and fair to all.

This will have a Governance Hierarchy of 4 levels:

Governance Board – Utilities, Academia, Business Experts to choose top 10 products and 5 solutions

Expert Panel – Product and solutions Experts to provide full life cycle expertise and business cases

Contributor Forum – Local authority strategy partners, development associations, connection stakeholders to endorse process and provide key net zero needs

User Group - to benefit from information provision to enable, facilitate and accelerate net zero solutions

Further information and progress on this forum will be provided in future newsletters.

Kind regards,

Stakeholder & Community Engagement Team

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