Ofgem’s proposals to establish Regional Energy Strategic Planners is a significant change in how energy is planned in the UK, providing for the first time a regional view as to how the transition to net zero energy should be led. 

Regen has worked with the Energy Networks Association (ENA) to provide input to the future design and function of the Regional Energy Strategic Planners (RESPs), focused on the interaction between RESPs and DNOs. 

Regen and the ENA DNO group have worked to map out current DNO network development processes and explore the potential interactions and integration with the functions proposed for the RESP. 

The report makes 10 key recommendations that would enable the RESPs to efficiently add value to the DNO network development process and wider regional energy planning activities, with suggestions as to how the DNO and RESP work practices could evolve together. This includes identifying functions that should remain within the DNOs’ remit to maintain clear accountabilities, avoid duplication of efforts and make best use of existing DNO capabilities and knowledge. 

The 10 key points and recommendations are as follows: 

  1. DNOs are positive about the role that RESPs could play. 
  2. RESPs could provide technology-neutral whole-system coordination to support key cross-vector challenges. 
  3. The RESPs’ stakeholder engagement should build on engagement already undertaken by networks to add value and avoid duplication. 
  4. The outcomes of the RESPs will likely vary depending on regional context. 
  5. Collaboration is critical, but the DNOs must remain responsible for network development. 
  6. It is important that DNOs retain final responsibility for forecasting load growth on network assets. 
  7. The DFES forecasting process could be adapted to incorporate strategic and whole-system energy plans produced by RESPs. 
  8. RESPs could have a role in aiding and improving the standardisation of network planning approaches. 
  9. Providing assurance and advice on certain specific, relevant aspects of DNOs’ plans could be a key complementary role for RESPs. 
  10. There must be a clear strategy for RESP roles in RIIO-ED3, with transitional arrangements in place. 

While there are a range of views and priorities across GB’s DNOs, this report reflects a consensus among the DNO group. It is hoped that this report will add to the ongoing RESP design development and inform further discussion within the RESP stakeholder group.

Read the report in full here. To discuss this area of our work, contact Jonty Haynes.

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