Accommodating Distributed Energy Resources: Technical, Commercial and Regulatory Challenges

Type: Technical Lecture

Title:Accommodating Distributed Energy Resources: Technical, Commercial and Regulatory Challenges

Speaker: Prof. Keith Bell, University of Strathclyde.

Date: 29th April 2019
Time: 17:30-18:30
Location: Room H11, Renold Building, The University of Manchester

Lecture Details:

The installed capacity of distributed generation in Britain, i.e. that connected to the distribution network, has grown to over 23 GW and there are increasing amounts of distribution connected demand response and battery storage being offered either to the Electricity System Operator or the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO). However, it is not yet clear how these resources would be best managed both to minimise potential adverse impacts on the electricity system as a whole and to realise the opportunities they present.

This talk discusses the technical, regulatory and policy challenges inherent in planning and operating power systems with high penetrations of Distributed Energy Resources (DER): distribution connected generators, flexible demand and energy storage. Starting from the premise that optimal distribution networks are those that satisfy the objective of a lowest cost power system whilst meeting customers’ expectations of reliability and societal desire for sustainability, it highlights major challenges that utilities and policy makers face. These include the need to respect the technical limits of the system and ensure its operability, development of well designed mechanisms to support innovation, and an appropriate share of risk between market actors. Possible tensions between an ESO and DNOs are explained along with the opportunities offered by more active distribution system operation as a substitute for capital investment. Different proposals for how a DNO might transition to a Distribution System Operator (DSO) are discussed along with their regulatory and policy implications. Finally, a set of principles against which to judge different future regulatory and commercial models is presented.

Speaker’s Biography:

Prof. Keith Bell

Prof. Keith Bell

Keith Bell holds the ScottishPower Chair in Smart Grids at the University of Strathclyde and is a co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and a Chartered Engineer. Prior to joining Strathclyde, he gained his PhD from the University of Bath, was post-doctoral researcher in Manchester and worked for some years as a system development planner with National Grid. In April 2019 he became a member of the Committee on Climate Change. In addition to teaching and being involved with energy system research in collaboration with various academic and industrial partners across Europe, he has a number of additional roles including with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, The IET Power Academy and CIGRE, the Conseil International des Grands Réseaux Electriques. In recent years, has given advice on electricity system issues to the Scottish Government, Ofgem, BEIS and the Government of Ireland.

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