DSO Workshop summary


Our TRANSITION team recently hosted a Market Flexibility workshop, exploring through discussions and exercises exploring how a DSO might approach operating in a local flexible energy market and what needs to be put in place to make that happen.

Facilitated by Baringa, this event brought together LEO partners, energy experts from across the sector and aggregators participating in local trials. Discussions included building our understanding of Local Area Energy Planning, Market Place Trials, and the importance of whole systems approach to data.

A full report of the session will be available in December.

Project LEO at Energy Innovation Summit 2022

Project LEO and TRANSITION featured in SSEN’s booth at the Energy Innovation Summit at Glasgow’s SEC on September 28th and 29th. Previously known as the Energy Networks Innovation Conference (ENIC), this event was hosted by a collaboration of BEIS, Innovate UK, Ofgem and Regen and this year, it was opened to the wider energy industry and attracted new national and international delegates.

Energy flexibility and local energy systems were popular topics of discussion throughout the 2-day conference and LEO and TRANSITION were showcased as a centerpiece of SSEN’s future innovation projects. The team highlighted the progress made in the past year and shared some of the learning from running Trial Periods 1 and 2 as part of the Local Energy System marketplace.

In addition, Mel Bryce our Program Director was invited to speak on a panel discussion around the increasing role that local energy has within the wider energy system, participating with colleagues from Innovate UK, West Midland Combined Authority, Welsh Government, Community Energy England and SGN.

New TRANSITION flexibility measurement tool launched by ENA to help Britain’s DNOs trade with more visibility and consistency

An innovative new tool, originally developed by the TRANSITION project led by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution, has today been introduced nationally by Energy Networks Association (ENA). The tool will help flexibility providers follow a clear, common and more accurate approach for measuring how much flexibility they have delivered to Britain’s distribution network operators (DNOs).

The tool, which was designed by the TRANSITION project, working closely with ENA’s Open Networks programme and specialist energy consultancy TNEI, will be used by flexibility providers to explore and determine their baseline calculations for participating in flexibility markets. A baseline is required to allow ongoing understanding and verification of the volume of flexibility services provided.

Two years in the making, the new flexibility baseline verification tool has been created to be enduring and under open governance arrangements. Available via ENA’s website, the benefits of the tool include:

  •  A standard and consistent decision-making process across all DNO’s. This means that those wishing to provide flexibility services to the networks know exactly what criteria will be used to assess their delivery no matter the location.
  • More transparency, with DNOs and flexibility providers being able to better validate how much flexibility is being provided.
  • More competitive outcomes through a more accountable and transparent approach, with customers ultimately benefitting from more cost-efficient solutions.
  • Increased stakeholder confidence, as delivery into the distribution flexibility market and visibility of any potential earnings will be consistent and easier to assess.
  • Increased participation, by removing barriers and developing a clear and adoptable common approach it will be easier for providers to engage with flexibility services.

This work is crucial to providing confidence to energy industry stakeholders in the future commercial viability of flexibility services, which will accelerate the transition to a smart, flexible energy system.

“SSEN has been developing the baselining flexibility verification tool through the TRANSITION project working together with TNEI for two years. I am proud to see their hard work being recognised by the adoption and launch of this tool by ENA’s Open Networks programme”.
Melanie Bryce, SSEN Oxfordshire Projects Director said.

“Our work engaging with service providers through the overarching LEO (Local Energy Oxfordshire) Project has emphasised the need for an aligned and standardised approach to flexibility markets and the tools that support them. TRANSITION’s collaboration with Open Networks has allowed us to bring together expertise from across the country to ensure the benefits of this common tool are realised by all potential users”.

Farina Farrier, Head of Open Networks at Energy Networks Association said:
“Since it’s conception in 2017, Open Networks has followed a learn-by-doing approach and is open with the way we work and the outputs we publish. The launch of this tool – working alongside the OFGEM Innovation Funded TRANSITION project – demonstrates another step forward in this vital industry collaboration to help us deliver practical outcomes.
Opening local markets for flexibility services remains a major focus of the programme, as a smarter, more flexible energy system is fundamental to reaching the government’s decarbonisation goals – starting with delivering a common framework for flexibility by March 2023.”
Stephanie Hay, Director of Networks and Innovation at TNEI comments:
“The development of the Flexibility Baselining tool is a crucial step for industry and the future provision of flexibility services.
At TNEI our mission statement is to lead the energy industry into a low carbon future and I think this tool encapsulates that mission perfectly. The team have been working closely with ENA and the TRANSITION project for a number of years now and it’s wonderful to see all of their hard work turn into something the whole industry can benefit from.”

A workshop webinar, which will include a practical run through of the new tool alongside an opportunity for Q&As, will be held on 20 April at 2pm. You can register here.

Oxfordshire’s preparations for a net zero future supported with innovative new technology

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has now installed over 80 low-voltage monitors throughout Oxfordshire. The monitors will alert SSEN to changing levels of demand in real time and assist in targeting investment on the road to net zero

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has forecast that by 2050 demand on electricity networks could treble as the UK moves toward its net zero carbon emissions future. Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO), an innovative multi-million-pound smart grid trial, is working to understand how communities can play an active role in this journey.

Through smart grid trials, Project LEO working in partnership with TRANSITION, are helping prepare for a shift in the electricity system, from one where energy is only consumed to one where it can be produced, stored, balanced and sold back to the system. The use of low-voltage monitors support the projects by providing live feedback and data on changes to demand and supply in the electricity system, such as from the implementation of low carbon technologies.

Previous monitoring systems provided only basic information, such as the highs and lows of voltage over a period, and required engineers to visit the substation to take load readings. The live data provided by the new monitors, however, helps us see up-to-date changes in demand and supply across the system, which can then be used for establishing baselines for the implementation and adoption of new technologies, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps.

SSEN’s recent Distribution Future Energy Scenario report forecasted Oxford will have over 71,000 electric vehicles, 58,000 heat pumps and 63MW of solar PV capacity by 2050. With low-voltage monitors in place, this forecasted growth and changing energy demands can be better and more efficiently accommodated.

The low-voltage monitors help in protecting the network and hardware connected to it, bringing greater network resiliency and cost savings for bill payers. The ability to see live changes in demand also enables quicker response times to demand changes, providing more opportunities for flexibility and potentially delaying or avoiding traditional network reinforcement, resulting in further cost savings for billpayers.  Previous trials with low-voltage monitors on SSEN’s network resulted in a 70% reduction in cost. [MT1]

Craig Rankin, SSEN’s Head of Region for Ridgeway said:

“The installation of the low-voltage monitors provides an opportunity for us to see real-time changes in demand and supply on the electricity network. The new monitors will provide us with extensive and detailed live data that will support our innovative smart grid trials as part of Project LEO and TRANSITION in targeting future investment on the road to net zero.

“With the uptake of low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles set to significantly increase in the future, the data provided by these new monitors will play a key role in helping us understand and respond to changes in demand and by provide more opportunities for a smarter and more flexible electricity system.”

A total of 81 low-voltage monitors have been installed so far throughout Oxfordshire, with an additional 19 targeted.

Opus One awarded contract to develop market flexibility and coordination solutions

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), following a competitive tendering process, has awarded Opus One Solutions the contract to develop and deploy two solutions to enable the testing of different flexibility market models throguh the TRANSITION project. Opus One Solutions will be developing the market platform and coordination tools to support the delivery of a smarter low-carbon energy network.

Increasingly consumers are shifting from merely using energy to producing, storing, balancing and selling energy back to the system. Flexibility and system coordination will have a critical role in the cost-effective transition to net zero, whereby low carbon technologies and solutions participate within a market on a level playing field.

SSEN has awarded Opus One Solutions the contract to develop and deploy two solutions to enable the testing of different flexibility market models. Opus One Solutions will deploy:

  • a Neutral Market Facilitator (NMF) platform for buyers and sellers of flexible electricity sources to register their requirements and capabilities;
  • a Whole System Coordination (WSC) tool that integrates data from a variety of different sources to quantify the requirements for network flexibility across different timeframes.

This will enable TRANSITION to test potential approaches to managing an increasingly complex energy system.

The NMF and WSC tools will be used as part of a programme of market trials over the next 2-3 years to test and demonstrate the functionalities and requirements of a DSO (Distribution System Operator) and local flexibility markets. These trials will be used to inform a smarter flexible energy system for the future.

Brian Wann, TRANSITION Project Manager, said:

“Working with Opus One Solutions provides an exciting opportunity to trial and test flexibility and coordination solutions which will help shape how we can best meet energy demand. As part of TRANSITION, it will help in understanding and trialling approaches to energy system architecture and coordination. We are very pleased to be working with Opus One Solutions on this project.”

Hisham Omara, VP of Strategic Growth at Opus One Solutions, said:

“We are thrilled to be working with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to support their DNO to DSO transition through the deployment of flexibility market platform – whole system coordinator and neutral market facilitator. Opus One is committed to support SSEN in its journey towards building the necessary business as usual infrastructure to enable flexibility as they enter RIIO-ED2.”

TRANSITION takes important step forward

Led by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), TRANSITION is testing the energy system architecture for the move to a smarter network supporting the UK’s net-zero targets. This week the energy regulator Ofgem announced the Oxfordshire-based project has successfully passed its Stage Gate test and will now proceed to delivery and trials.

The proliferation of low-carbon and flexible low-carbon technologies and solutions are creating new opportunities for households, businesses and communities to engage with the energy system. To support these fundamental changes SSEN launched TRANSITION in October 2018 to test how the system architecture can accommodate these changes in a cost effective manner for customers.

As a Network Innovation Competition (NIC) funded project, TRANSITION is required to pass a key Stage Gate as part of the governance. This tests whether the project remains relevant to the energy industry’s requirements to deliver change in a cost-effective manner for customers while ensuring continued justification of the business case and reflecting stakeholder feedback.

Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) are transitioning to become Distribution System Operators (DSOs) to help manage increasingly complex relationships within Great Britain’s energy system. This includes customers, shifting from merely consuming energy, to producing, storing, balancing and selling energy back to the system.

TRANSITION is designing, developing and demonstrating the operations of DSO architecture, informed by the ENA Open Networks Project. The project will trial local energy flexibility and facilitate new markets, such as peer-to-peer trading, while maintaining neutrality and customer expectations. Consisting of physical trials within Oxfordshire and simulated trials within the Electricity North West licence area, the project will provide a better understanding of how market rules can be designed to avoid conflicts of interest.

Brian Wann, TRANSITION Project Manager, welcomed the news:

“This is an important step towards realising a “proof of concept” for energy system architecture that will be critical in accommodating the UK’s net zero ambitions. This has been achieved through collaborative working, the sharing of information across the NIC projects and challenging the traditional ways things have been done.”

TRANSITION is a five-year project, and represents the first NIC where two Network Operators, SSEN and Electricity North West Limited, have worked together on a single project.


Learning by Doing

Following our very different Market Rules Simulation events, that took place lasts year, Network Magazine have published an interview with SSENs DSO Director, Andrew Roper.  Click this link to go to the piece titled “Learning by doing”. The article discusses ‘Learning by doing’, a key principle that Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks is applying to the net zero transition.

Market Rules Simulation Events

Market Rules Simulation Events

TRANSITION, in partnership with Origami Energy, successfully hosted two wider industry simulation events in October, focusing on the market rules and services required to facilitate the transition to a low carbon economy.

Attendees at the workshops included suppliers, traders, aggregators, customers, network owners and operators. Each was able to interact with future energy scenarios, test the rules that govern them and challenge those that create unfairness, helping to shape the future energy industry. The outputs are already feeding into the TRANSITION system architecture design and Open Networks Conflicts of Interest and Unintended Consequences work that will underpin the future energy market field trials commencing in summer 2020. A findings report shall also be published next month and made available through the ‘Library page’ of the TRANSITION website.

If you missed out in October, SSEN have good news for you. Throughout 2020, TRANSITION propose to develop a short series of “simulation” events to test various building blocks ahead of and or following initial trials, coordinating with Project LEO and the other core system operations projects including ENA Open Networks Project, EFFS and FUSION. More information shall follow early next year, but if you wish to be kept informed of such engagement opportunities please ‘get in touch’ and request to be added to our distribution list.

Three Project TRANSITION webinars taking place, have you registered?

Our Innovation team are hosting three engagement event webinars, with the first two aimed at potential vendors of the DSO enabling tools the TRANSITION Project will develop and test, with the third webinar aimed at a wider industry level and covering both areas.

The first webinar covers the Neutral Market Facilitation platform enabling network services to be procured and the ability for interested parties to trade peer to peer, while the second coordinates the output from the market(s) with network asset capabilities and the real time situation to ensure engineers have the information they need to make informed network decisions. If you are interested in the TRANSITION project and want to hear more about what we are doing, then the webinar on the 6th November still has spaces available also.

We would like to invite you to participate in our webinar event, hosted by SSEN and our project partner CGI. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has been successful in winning two innovation competitions, TRANSITION and LEO, that will inform the work being undertaken by the Energy Network Association’s Open Networks Project, a major energy industry initiative that will transform the way our energy networks work and underpin the delivery of the DSO and the smart grid.

Based on the Open Networks Project Market Models the project will help progress the change to a DSO by developing and demonstrating a Market Platform to test the operation of the these market models. The project has defined the baseline requirements for a Market Platform, which will be implemented and tested in future DSO trials. The Market Platform is split in across two areas, the first, the Facilitation platform defines the requirements for trading of flexibility between the DSO and flexibility providers, and facilitates peer to peer trading. The second, the Co-ordination platform details the functionality required to support engineers of the future to make informed network decisions.

In advance of the event, further information on the Requirement Specification for both the Facilitation and Co-ordination platforms, these can be found in the library section of the project website.

The documents are titled:
“Whole System Co-ordination Requirement Specification”
“Neutral Market Facilitation Requirement Specification”

To Register:

SSEN invites stakeholders to market simulation events to test the future energy system

SSEN invites stakeholders to market simulation events to test the future energy system

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is inviting industry stakeholders to take part in interactive workshops to support the transformation of energy networks to becoming smarter, more flexible and cost effective.

The workshops, to be held in Reading on 23 and 24 October, will inform SSEN’s TRANSITION project by testing a basic set of market rules that will govern the delivery of up to five services in a Distribution System Operator (DSO) world. The rules and the services they shape will help SSEN to design the system architecture that will underpin the future energy market.

TRANSITION is a £12.8 million project that is designing, developing, and demonstrating how the energy system architecture can be best designed to maximise opportunities created by the proliferation of low-carbon, smart and flexible technologies. One of the deliverables of this project is a set of market rules that will govern services in a DSO world.

SSEN is a key partner in the Energy Network Association (ENA)’s Open Networks Project, a major energy industry initiative that will transform the way our energy networks operate and will underpin the delivery of DSO and a smart, flexible, interactive grid.

Attendees at the workshops will be able to interact with future energy scenarios, test the rules that govern them and challenge those that create unfairness. They will gain an insight into the future of energy and by participating and sharing their views, will also help to shape it. Engagement with customers and stakeholders is a central part of SSEN’s commitment to a “you said, we did” approach.

Stewart Reid, Head of Future Networks at SSEN said: “SSEN is a strong supporter of the UK’s net zero emissions reduction target and is committed to building the electricity network flexibility and infrastructure that will help support it.

“In a future DSO world, SSEN is committed to acting as a neutral market facilitator, ensuring a level playing field for all participants. The learnings from these workshops will inform our TRANSITION project and help us ensure that neutrality and conflict avoidance are embedded in the future electricity system architecture. I would encourage all interested stakeholders to get in touch and join us for what promises to be a fascinating process.”

The outcome of these workshops will help develop field trials that will take place in summer 2020. Stakeholders are welcome from suppliers, traders, aggregators, customers, asset owners, DSO or ESO, or those with general industry expertise.

To register to attend this event on 23 October, click here

To register to attend this event on 24 October, click here

Both workshops will be held in SSE Offices, No1 Forbury Place, 43 Forbury Road, Reading RG1 3JH.

Job Opportunities

We have two great opportunities to join our TRANSITION project team, based in Reading, Oxford, Perth or Glasgow. We are looking to recruit an ICT Project Manager and a Project Engineer. The closing date for both is Wednesday 21 August, so please click the links below to hear more and apply.

TRANSITION Work Package 2 workshop

TRANSITION Work Package 2 workshop

Led by CGI with attendance from Origami and SSEN the team held a workshop at the ENA on 22nd May 2019. Excellent progress being made on Neutral Market Facilitation and Whole System Co-ordinator requirements specification.

Press Release: New website launched to promote TRANSITION and the evolving electricity network

T.E.F. Project Delivery Board meeting

T.E.F. Project Delivery Board meeting

Representatives from SSEN, ENWL, SPEN, WPD and ON-P met in Glasgow for the 5th T.E.F. Project Delivery Board meeting on 28th March 2019.