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Good Practice Guide for Active Network Management – launch event report

Wednesday 15th July 2015, saw the launch of the Energy Network Association’s Active Network Management Good Practice Guide, which Baringa Partners was commissioned to produce, in partnership with TNEI Services. A series of presentations and a lively discussion with an audience of developers, manufacturers and policymakers covered the latest thinking on the applications, design and implementation of ANM schemes, and looked to the future of ANM and smart grids.

What is ANM?

Active Network Management (ANM) allows network operators to have greater control of flexible resources connected to their networks, including generation, demand side response and storage. By being able to access this flexibility in real-time, network operators are able to increase the utilisation of network assets without breaching operational limits, thereby reducing the need for reinforcement, speeding up connections and reducing costs.  It is a key component of a future smart grid.

How is ANM being used?

Supported by novel commercial arrangements that allow for a degree of curtailment, ANM has most commonly been used to enable faster and cheaper connection of renewable generators to the distribution networks, but it also has applications for avoiding wider distribution network reinforcement, and for specific applications on the transmission network.

We have seen increasing deployment of ANM over recent years in Great Britain as one of a number of innovative approaches, both technical and commercial, being taken to allow greater flexibility on the networks and make them ‘smarter’.

The ANM Good Practice Guide

Baringa Partners, was recently commissioned by the Energy Networks Association (ENA) to produce a Good Practice Guide (GPG) on ANM.

The ENA has a working group on ANM which comprises representatives from the UK Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), Transmission Owners (TO) and National Grid, and the System Operator (SO).  We worked closely with the working group members to gather existing experience of ANM, both from innovation projects and the early stages of Business as Usual roll out, and to distil good practice.

The GPG is intended to be of use to the network operators themselves, customers that might be offered ANM connections, product manufacturers who may provide ANM or ANM-related equipment, and for regulators and policymakers who may want to understand the economic drivers behind ANM. The aims of the GPG are to provide a common understanding of ANM, highlight case studies to use as reference points, and to create and consolidate reference material to inform future standards and recommendations.

The Guide covers a range of topics, including:

*          Defining ANM and identifying its high-level drivers

*          Exploring the key ways in which ANM can be used

*          Considering the technical, data, people and process changes required to roll it out

*          Exploring the way in which ANM operates on the electricity network, including some of the interactions related to system operation between networks

*          Considering the future of ANM, exploring how the technology and commercial arrangements might evolve

The Launch Event

We presented alongside the ENA working group members at a launch event hosted by ENA.  The session was well attended by network operators, renewable developers and other stakeholders.  We had a great discussion and some useful questions and observations.

It was recognised that the increasing prevalence of renewable generation on the network (with its low load factors and diversity of export profiles) meant that it no longer made economic sense simply to reinforce for the worst case scenario. However, a number of developers expressed trepidation about the risk of curtailment, which triggered a useful discussion around the reassurances that might be needed in order to finance a project, and the amount of data and analysis that network operators might be able to provide. It is clear that this conversation is still at the early stages, but there appears to be a shared understanding of the challenges ahead.

We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with the ENA and its members in consolidating the learnings thus far, and hope the guide provides a useful reference for good practice for future growth in this novel technology.

The Good Practice Guide has been published on the ENA website: http://www.energynetworks.org/modx/assets/files/news/publications/1500205_ENA_ANM_report_AW_online.pdf

Chris P. Collins, Nick Screen & Duncan Sinclair

Back to July 2015

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