techUK will be responding to the National Infrastructure Commission - Electricity distribution network study call for evidence:

The UK government has tasked the National Infrastructure Commission with providing recommendations for policy decisions to ensure that the electricity distribution network in Great Britain is net zero ready. The approach will be guided by the terms of reference for the electricity distribution network study.

Key points about the distribution network:

  1. Lower Voltage Distribution Network:
  • Connects the high voltage electricity transmission network to homes and businesses.
  • Also accommodates smaller sources of generation (e.g., solar) and flexibility (e.g., batteries).

Ofgem regulates each part of the distribution network, defining outcomes and allowable revenues.

  1. Increasing Electricity Demand:
  • As the economy decarbonises, electricity demand is expected to rise significantly.
  • Both transmission and distribution networks must handle more energy.
  • Available capacity on the network is crucial for maintaining service levels and system resilience.
  • Without sufficient capacity, new supply or demand sources cannot connect, potentially hindering decarbonisation efforts.
  1. Investment and Solutions:
  • Increasing capacity will likely require investment.
  • Non-network solutions, such as local flexibility markets, demand-side response, and data-driven digitalisation, can help manage demand and reduce the need for physical network expansion.

In making its recommendations, the Commission will consider:

  • The technologies and solutions that can make best use of existing network capacity, when and why capacity may need to be increased and how this could be achieved at lowest cost.
  • How policy, regulations and governance structures can support the delivery of these technologies and solutions in a timely manner to maintain service levels.
  • How the process of connecting new sources of demand and generation to the distribution network can be further improved, reflecting on existing work by government, Ofgem and industry in this area.

The deadline for this consultation is 10 May, with final recommendations to government within the next 12 months. Final report - Electricity distribution network study will be published in Early 2025.