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Podcast S20E07

Keeping electricity grids stable

high voltage post.

In this episode, we explore the challenges of keeping transmission networks stable as levels of renewable generation grow and grow. To discuss this we’re joined by Duncan Burt, previously Director of Operations at National Grid ESO in the UK and now Chief Strategic Growth Officer at Reactive Technologies, and LCP Delta Flexibility & Storage expert Jon Ferris.

Episode transcript

[00:00:04.490] - Jon Slowe

Welcome to talking new Energy, a podcast from LCP Delta. I'm Jon Slowe.

 

[00:00:09.290] - Sandra Trittin

And I'm Sandra Trittin. And together we are exploring how the energy transition is unfolding across Europe through conversations with guests from the leading edge of the transition.

 

[00:00:19.010] - Jon Slowe

Hello and welcome to the episode. We're often talking with people and companies who are working directly with customers or end users or consumers. Today, we're looking at the other end of the spectrum at transmission systems or electricity networks and the challenges they're facing. But we'll link that in, of course, to the role that customers or consumers can play in helping to solve those challenges. So let me introduce my two guests today. First, Duncan Burt, who's chief strategy officer at Reactive Technologies. Hello, Duncan.

 

[00:00:52.990] - Duncan Burt

Hi, great to see you.

 

[00:00:54.280] - Jon Slowe

Thanks for joining. And Duncan, you also bring along come with a long career from National Grid, the TSO (Transmission System Operator) Great Britain.

 

[00:01:02.170] - Duncan Burt

Yeah, that's right for my pains. I was director of operations there and actually grew up in the system operator bit of national grid over about 20 years. So I've seen the sort of full transition from a main fossil fuel powered system right through to very high renewables.

 

[00:01:17.310] - Jon Slowe

Well, looking forward to hear more about that journey and what that's been like. And our second guest is Jon Ferris, expert at LCP Delta, where his head of flexibility and storage. Hello, Jon.

 

[00:01:29.730] - Jon Ferris

Hello, Jon.

 

[00:01:30.350] - Jon Slowe

And Duncan, I'd like to start by looking back and then after that we'll look forward. So, Duncan, that 20 year career at National Grid, as you described, started off as mainly a fossil fuel power system. I think National Grid by 2035, wants to be able to or will be operating a pretty much 100% renewable or carbon free electricity system. So I remember the days when we were talking about, oh, can the grid cope with 20%, 30%, 40% renewables? Tell us a bit about that journey from when you started at National Grid and, yeah, what that journey has been like in learning to cope with more and more renewable generation.

 

[00:02:11.330] - Duncan Burt

Yeah, sure. I mean, back I started in 2000 and the early years were very much the transition to full markets with neater the new electricity trading arrangements. And I remember we wrote the sort of supporting submission for the UK government on the third energy package when Tony Blair was prime minister. And the question we had to answer was, how much will it cost the UK to implement the target on renewables, which I think was 20% back then, Jon might remember. And our answer was very short. We had pages and pages to fill and we just said, well, it will cost the UK slightly more than continental Europe because we're a smaller power system and therefore whatever continental Europe says, ours will be a bit more expensive because we're a smaller grid and that held (laughs) but we took quite a big target for the UK and then we started being asked, we were seeing the early growth in renewables, particularly in Scotland. There and even back then, connections were an issue in terms of getting planning consent and getting it in. And so, Jon, stop me anytime, but I think we first said 15 and then 20% renewables was manageable on the grid.

 

[00:03:22.520] - Duncan Burt

And at the time I helped do that math. We thought that was pretty radical and what we were looking at, we were pleased with that because the variability of the wind output was so much different to anything we'd seen before

 

[00:03:38.790] - Jon Slowe

Yeap.

 

[00:03:39.580] - Duncan Burt

And none of the other power plants, the power grid wasn't built to take it and we naively thought that we wouldn't be able to adapt. Of course, what's happened since, that would have been in about 2004-05. And since then, everyone's learnt a completely different way of operating power grids. And actually our phrase that became our mantra over the sort of 15 years from 2004 onwards was "it's not harder, it's just different". And it's really difficult for people and experts and organisations to get their heads around it. But it isn't harder, it is just a different way of running a grid and you haven't got 40 years of learnt history, so you have to start again. But actually it's as reliable, it's much more carbon efficient, it's actually much more energy efficient, so you just need to get on with it.

 

[00:04:29.690] - Jon Ferris

There's a famous story in the industry about that 20% target as to whether Tony Blair actually meant electricity when he set the 20% energy target. And given that the electricity sector is decarbonising faster and earlier than the heating and transport sector, it did mean that the electricity sector really had to move beyond what it thought was achievable at the time, much more quickly.

 

[00:04:55.420] - Jon Slowe

I guess we'll never know the answer Jon, will we as to whether?

 

[00:05:00.190] - Duncan Burt

I think we all thought we were signing up to 20% electricity at the time, and then it came back as 20% energy. So either we were misunderstanding or it was a tremendous diplomatic sleight of hand.

 

[00:05:13.170] - Jon Slowe

Duncan, you talked about all that learnt history and it's different. It's not harder, but it's different. But operating an electricity system, you don't want to take too many risks. The value of all that learnt history, of what you know, of what you understand, I imagine that's huge. So what was it like learning by doing to a degree in a system that you don't want to take those risks with.

 

[00:05:38.160] - Duncan Burt

Yeah, well, we adopted that phrase as well, the learn by doing, because we knew we were going to have to figure it out. It was both tremendously difficult and tremendously fun because you had to take a whole organisation plus a whole industry plus government with you on some of this, and sometimes you were being pushed and sometimes you were trying to get ahead and it covered everything. So you're right, you run at incredibly low risk and you want to contain all those risks. And part of that also means that you have a culture where an awful lot of your people spend every day of their career just trying to find problems with something, because every time they look at something, they're trying to understand what could go wrong. And that's fine, but you've got to try and redirect that when it comes to the scale of change that we've gone through over the last 15 years, and that will continue to go through over the next 15 years. So you've got that sort of cultural inertia. But I think the UK worked pretty well in that it had very good constructive tension through the industry panels where you would have developers coming in saying, look, you've got to get more wind on and you'd have the government, you'd have different bits of government, some of them going, well, you need to get the wind on and other bits going you can't compromise security of supply.

 

[00:06:58.150] - Duncan Burt

And actually that created a lot of focus and a lot of emphasis and Ofgem did some really good work in the early years on things. Jon will probably remember Project Discovery, we used to call it disco at the time, which actually stepped back and tried to do a sort of 15-20 year plan of what was going to be needed. And that moved the regulations forward into all sorts of acronyms which really started pushing things along. So it was tremendous fun. But, yeah, really challenging internally. You can't challenge or change that culture. You've got to take it and redirect it in ways that really deliver. Because people often think that utilities are not very innovative or they're very stuck in their ways. They're not. They just have a job to do and that job is keeping the lights on, running that as efficiently as possible, and trying to coordinate a whole series of interests and stakeholders across industries. So it's a really tough job, but in doing that they can be incredibly innovative and when they want to, they can move very quickly. But the incentives and the pressure and the need all need to align. Do you disagree with that, Jon?

 

[00:08:09.130] - Jon Ferris

No, I think they have to be innovative. I think a lot of people looking in from outside the industry, you'll see on the news pictures of the control room with the big screens and the banks of desks, and it looks like something out of NASA. But the actual amount of data, the visibility that they have over what's happening on the grid is somewhat limited. It's been what we've been able to monitor, it's been what's required, and that's worked for decades. But when you move down the grid, down the voltage levels, the understanding, the visibility of what's actually happening is somewhat limited. So you have to rely on both the engineering of the grid and rules of sum and estimates, and to some extent guesswork as to what's happening, and both respond and preempt any issues happening. And I think it was quite surprising. It was for me coming into the industry from outside as to how little visibility there is over what was happening. And that was at the time. And increasingly, with more renewables coming onto the distribution grid, more consumer assets, changing those assumptions, that's becoming even more of a challenge.

 

[00:09:26.460] - Duncan Burt

I mean, that's definitely true on distribution, isn't it, Jon? I mean, transmission and distribution have always been slightly different. So in transmission, we used to say that before the rise of Amazon and Google, the operation of the transmission network and the operation of the power grid was the largest non-military deployment of computing in the economy, and it was vast. You used to have mainframes and computers running back in the 70s, that grew with technology through the 80-90s. But as you say, the tremendous challenge distribution faces is there are just so many assets out there, so many things you could measure and monitor that with the technology of the 80-90s was never really efficient to do it. But for everybody now, the absolute pressure is on really understanding for network utilities, it's really understanding what your grid is doing and deploying what is now very simple and relatively low cost comms and data integration to put that together. And distribution is going through at the moment probably what National Grid in the UK went through in the mid 2000s, which is that first really big change, you've got the renewables on, you're starting to get them on, and you can see more coming, and you've now got to run ahead of that with data, with control, with planning standards, with future IT systems.

 

[00:10:44.590] - Duncan Burt

I would say tremendous fun, it's tremendously challenging, but at the same time, you've got a lot of moving parts that you need to try and figure out. The future DSOs (Distribution System Operators) in the UK need to try and figure out how to stack that up.

 

[00:10:55.600] - Jon Slowe

And all this is necessary to enable the volumes of renewable generation to connect and enable us to decarbonise the grid as more renewables come online, Duncan, that needs more flexibility to manage the variability of renewables. Demand side flexibility (DFS) is a big topic and has been for several years. So I'm interested in, before we look forward, another look back at reflections on how demand side flexibility has been viewed by National Grid or TSOs in general, and the degree to which what it takes for a TSO to get comfortable with demand side flexibility, how much of a role it can play.

 

[00:11:39.520] - Duncan Burt

Yeah, I mean, the great irony of this is that one of the reasons NitO was introduced back in 2000 was to prompt big growth in demand side flexibility. And all of the coding and the maths and the engineering was in there to accept quite large amounts of demand side service into the balancing mechanism. But the economics or the environment really never played out in a way that designers of that market hoped. Now, we used to have really significant demand side participation in the UK through large industrial customers, the big aluminium smelters when we had them in the UK, some of the big steelworks as well, and some of the other big chemical plants used to, we probably had at our maximum, 800, 900 Megawatts. Proper demand, not embedded batteries, not embedded generators, but proper demand playing in the market.

 

[00:12:31.010] - Jon Slowe

Those big factories turning down when you needed to turn down.

 

[00:12:34.240] - Duncan Burt

Yeah, that's right, at different speeds. But a lot of that was in the sort of short term flexibility, the frequency response, or the short term operating reserve type market. So really coming in in a few seconds to a few minutes and then lasting 15 minutes to an hour. What we're looking at now is what you'll see in the next evolution is much more interesting and important. And we've been trying to crack it, we're trying to crack it at grid for a number of years, which is how do you integrate the sort of mass dispatch of electric vehicles (EVs) and heat pumps?

 

[00:13:10.580] - Jon Slowe

So you're moving from tens of factories to millions of heat pumps, EVs, batteries and customers homes.

 

[00:13:17.480] - Duncan Burt

Oh, yeah, exactly. And you've got to remember the scale is just phenomenal. The modelling we were doing on this, even in sort of 2012-2014, on the potential flexibility, particularly from EVs around the year, is absolutely vast. Most people only drive their car every now and then. We knew that a typical battery would last, a typical driver probably a couple of weeks once EVs were being widely used, just for the shopping run and the school run. And we also knew that people were very responsive to price, because way back when, when we used to have fuel duty increases every year, there would be a queue at the petrol station for two days before the fuel duty increase. And that for us, was a good enough data point to say, people are prepared to think about this and they are prepared to have a small amount of upheaval to maximise their price capture on how cheap they can get their fuel for their car. So it was obvious that people would really start to find ways to charge their car flexibly. And that was before anyone had even thought that an Octopus or something as fabulous as that might exist, or those sort of smart control systems.

 

[00:14:24.230] - Duncan Burt

So we knew it would happen. And the flexibility we were modelling from Evs would be sort of 40 times the amount of flexibility we were going to get from the traditional pumped hydro and would last days to a week in terms of its delivery. So we were very excited about it and really saw it as a key enabler of that next stage of the transition. Moving from your sort of 20% renewables where they're noise but manageable up to 60, 70, 80%. But we were pretty not relaxed, but we knew we had options when the capacity mechanism was designed. I thought very cleverly at the time that really looked forward into the 2020s and said, okay, we've got these renewables coming on and they have certainty of funding of their revenue stream. The big challenge after that was all these CCGTs (combined cycle gas turbines) had no knowledge of what their load factors were going to be, because it was going to be entirely driven by the growth in renewables. But we knew that that gas was going to provide a lot of flexibility. Most of the CCGTs in the UK were re engineered to make them much more flexible so they could come on and off.

 

[00:15:37.840] - Duncan Burt

And therefore the capacity mechanism created a funding mechanism really to underpin that load factor in uncertainty in shorter timescales, and worked really well. And our expectation was always, this is back 2015, 16, 17, 18, that as the EVs came on with flexibility and then the heat pumps after the CCGTs would gradually reduce in load factor managed by the capacity mechanism support, and you'd get through that. Quite a smooth transition in flexibility.

 

[00:16:09.450] - Jon Ferris

I think we're starting to see, from that consumer perspective, that shift from flexibility being provided by the industrial sector to chargepoint operators becoming some of the largest retail consumers of electricity, and then by extension, both them and retailers with home charging are becoming large providers of flexibility from their customers' assets.

 

[00:16:36.520] - Duncan Burt

Absolutely you are, Jon. And with that you're getting a lot of batteries coming on whether that's warehouse delivery charging or chargepoint charging, as you say, or home charging, let alone the batteries in the EV. So there is a huge amount of stored storage potential coming onto the system and we need to make sure that we preserve in market design the price dynamics that drive that behaviour. But yeah, I think the future looks incredibly promising. We've got the kind of infrastructure and assets, the kind of data integration and companies coming on that can deliver that. I just always think it's about business model and time now before we really see it take off.

 

[00:17:14.910] - Jon Slowe

Well, Duncan, you've moved role from a large organisation like National Grid to, well, not a start-up, but maybe a scale up, Reactive Technologies. Tell us a bit about what Reactive Technologies does and also, I guess, personally, what made you move role from one to the other?

 

[00:17:33.920] - Duncan Burt

Yeah, well, I had always wanted. I mean, I love National Grid, it's a fascinating place to work and I would recommend it to anyone, particularly the system operator. You really do sit at the heart of things. But I knew it was time to move on. I'd done 20 years there and I'd always wanted to sit on the other side of the table. I'd sat and watched many of the companies grow into really significant businesses and I'd always thought, I'd love to try that.

 

[00:18:02.960] - Jon Slowe

Thought that would be fun.

 

[00:18:05.690] - Duncan Burt

I'm in my late 40s and thought if I don't do it now, I'm never going to do it. And there were great people at National Grid ESO, fantastic leadership team. I had no concerns about moving on from that. And so, yeah, I spent more and more of my time, particularly ahead of COP26, working internationally with grids, and could see that these challenges were the same the world over. So I spoke to a few organisations and the one for me that had the best tech and the best fit was Reactive Technologies. And so I moved there just about 17-18 months ago now. And what Reactive do is their core system actually had been bought by the system operator in the UK in about 2018, 2019, and then deployed sometime at the back end of Covid And that was to measure the inertia of the system, of the power system. Now we can get very technical very quickly, Jon, so I'll stop there.

 

[00:19:00.240] - Jon Slowe

Yeah, for our listeners, I guess people can imagine what the inertia of the system might be, but just unpack that a little bit more without getting too technical.

 

[00:19:10.350] - Duncan Burt

So, I mean, like a traditional fossil fuel grid has all these massive bits of metal, these massive generators spinning round, and when you get a sudden disturbance on the system, like a fault or a generator trip, all of that metal keeps spinning, and so you get a very stable, smooth ride. It's like riding in a very comfortable car. Whereas a renewables grid, just as reliable, but it doesn't have these big bits of metal that are synchronously spinning with the grid. The wind turbines and the solar, they infeed through an inverter, and that inverter just follows the frequency to push that power into the grid. So instead of getting these big bits of metal that help you ride over these bumps and these faults on the grid, you have nothing. So your frequency changes very quickly, in a matter of a few milliseconds rather than over maybe 10 seconds.

 

[00:20:04.220] - Jon Slowe

And then how does Reactive Technologies help with that? They measure that change?

 

[00:20:08.900] - Duncan Burt

Yeah, basically, as you move to a renewables grid, once you're getting sort of 30, 40, 50% renewables, then inertia becomes a critical security constraint for the grid. Just like Megawatt flow, just like voltage, just like demand. And so, like any security constraint, if you don't manage it, you're going to spend an awful lot of money, or you're going to be outside of your security standard.

 

[00:20:35.960] - Jon Slowe

You're going to take too much risk, or you're going to over engineer your system.

 

[00:20:39.390] - Duncan Burt

Exactly. You're going to go either way. So the first thing you do when you've got something like that is you measure it, and then as you measure it, you can understand it, and then you can build policy to optimise and manage it in a way where you know exactly as you say, that you're not over engineering, but that you're still secure. And that's exactly what it does. So we're deployed in the UK, measuring inertia now for well over a year, and that's allowing grid to optimise down to minimal levels of inertia. And in doing that, it avoids curtailing renewables. So if it wasn't doing that, it would have to run at higher levels of inertia and effectively pull back wind when it got to, or pull back interconnectors when you get to get close to the inertia limit.

 

[00:21:22.510] - Jon Ferris

We've also seen the impact of having that visibility, having that understanding, and being able to cope with less inertia than the system had before in the new products that have been introduced both in the UK. And we're starting to see around Europe, where frequency response used to be a relatively slow service compared to what we're seeing now with the new dynamic suite responding sub-second or within seconds. So there's much more of a need for very fast acting response to be able to counteract that fast drop in frequency that you can have in a low inertia system.

 

[00:22:02.090] - Jon Slowe

And how do you measure inertia, duncan? I guess this is sort of taking the lid off the magic box of tricks at Reactor Technologies. Do you census on the grid or what's....

 

[00:22:15.750] - Duncan Burt

By explaining how we used to. So we've always checked what inertia was, and the way that we used to measure it historically was by looking at really large generation losses. So if you had a big instantaneous loss of generation, the frequency would be in free fall for maybe, as Jon said, for two or three, maybe even four seconds. And if you looked at the rate of fall and you knew the demand on the grid, that would tell you the inertia. And you measure inertia in Gigawatt seconds. So it's basically how many seconds it takes for the frequency to fall. So we've always done that. And actually you can't do that when the frequency is moving so quickly, because you also need batteries and other fast plant coming on to catch it. So you don't have any free fall period, and you only get a few samples a year. You probably only at grid, we've maybe had 15-20 events like that a year, which is not enough. You want continuous measurement. So the way what Reactive invented is really clever, they push a small signal into the grid. It's called small signal modulation. So in the UK, it actually pushes a ten Megawatt signal into the grid, a pulse like a sonar, and then there's about 50 sensors around the UK, very, very sensitive, and they pick up that signal.

 

[00:23:29.830] - Duncan Burt

And by looking at the free fall drop associated with that very small signal, because they're very sensitive, they can calculate the inertia in exactly the same way that 20 years ago we would have done with a big free fall generation loss over 4 seconds. These sensors, combined with some very clever signal processing, can do it on a tiny signal continuously, 24 hours a day.

 

[00:23:56.200] - Jon Slowe

I feel like you're taking me back to my days studying physics at University and in a lab. I remembered signal processing, but you can do that whenever you want and you can get those accurate inertia measurements at your time of choice, rather than waiting for an event to happen.

 

[00:24:13.520] - Duncan Burt

Yeah, and that becomes really important because not all of the, well, about 60, 70% of the inertia on the grid comes from those big generators, but actually 30% to 40% of it comes from demand from pumps and fans and other motors that are rotating, or air compressors, for example.

 

[00:24:31.450] - Jon Slowe

Yeah.

 

[00:24:32.010] - Duncan Burt

And actually the contribution from demand obviously changes all the time. And most TSOs around the world either make a very, very conservative assumption for what that is. So in the UK, we used to assume 10%, or they say, well, we don't know it, therefore, which is the best thing to do when you don't know, isn't it, if you're a grid operator and as your generation inertia shrinks, that demand component becomes really valuable, because that can save an awful lot of money and it can allow you to run a lot more renewables on the grid.

 

[00:25:03.110] - Jon Slowe

You don't over engineer the system, as we were talking about.

 

[00:25:05.800] - Duncan Burt

Yeah, exactly. But to get that right, obviously you've got to build a data set, you've got to measure it continuously, understand what the demand inertia is doing, understand how it's changing. So in the UK, when we look at know, unsurprisingly, demand inertia follows a typical industrial load pattern. So very high Monday to Thursday, some curious behaviour overnight related to water pumping and then behaviour at the weekend, that really relates to industrial behaviour and pricing and a little bit to do know, big industrial holidays in the Summer and at Christmas and such like. So you can start to forecast it and then you can build a plan and you can size your response curves, as Jon says, for very fast response accordingly. I mean, the reason I went there is just not because that's interesting in the UK, but inertia becomes a fundamental security constraint on every single grid in the world, so everybody needs to be doing this. So from a carbon saving point of view and helping get the power systems around the world to net zero point of view. It's a fabulously important piece of work.

 

[00:26:12.870] - Jon Slowe

Doing that in a cost effective way. So in a quicker way as possible.

 

[00:26:16.650] - Duncan Burt

Exactly.

 

[00:26:17.270] - Jon Slowe

Jon, just coming back to what you're saying about the very fast response, so we've got the more accurate inertia measurements, people are going to understand the response that's needed that sub-second or response or second level response. Coming back to demand side flexibility, to what degree can the demand side, or other assets like big batteries, provide that really fast response?

 

[00:26:40.510] - Jon Ferris

At the moment, that's very challenging for the demand side to deliver cost effectively. To be able to respond to a very fast drop in frequency, you need to be monitoring the frequency very close to the device that's providing the response. So if that's happening in the Cloud, by the time you sent the message over the Internet to millions of EVs, then it's too late. So we're really seeing the big batteries monitoring frequency and responding very quickly from the transmission grid, and that's where that response is being delivered from.

 

[00:27:20.110] - Jon Slowe

Because they're big enough, they can carry the cost of monitoring the frequency.

 

[00:27:28.020] - Jon Ferris

They can but as Duncan mentioned early on, we've seen the cost of communication, of monitoring reduced over the last 20 years. As we get more EVs, more devices on the system, I think it's likely that that cost is going to continue to fall. We could see the cost of adding frequency monitoring to bi directional chargers for EVs be a relatively small part of the cost, whereas at the moment, for sort of simple, sort of V1G chargers, it would add quite a significant proportion to the cost. But in the future, you could certainly contemplate being able to provide very fast response from V2G capable EV chargers.

 

[00:28:14.920] - Jon Slowe

So EV charging can provide responses to grids today, but maybe struggle to do it at certain speeds, but they can provide other valuable services.

 

[00:28:24.530] - Jon Ferris

At the moment, we're hearing companies that are confident that they can deliver within 10 seconds, which means they can participate in the FCR ( Frequency Containment Reserve) markets. And even though they believe they can respond quicker, being able to deliver that reliably to the grid operators sub-second isn't something that they're typically willing to commit to yet.

 

[00:28:47.640] - Jon Slowe

And Duncan, from a grid operator point of view, there's a level of certainty that a grid operator would want to see and be comfortable with.

 

[00:28:56.190] - Duncan Burt

Yeah, that's right. But I think Jon will hopefully agree with this. But over time, we've shown that grid operators around the world, PJM, Mercott, National Grid in the UK, are very happy working with highly distributed demand products. You just need to test it and prove it, just like we've been doing the last few Winters. So it can really work. To Jon's point, you've got a lot of value opportunities if you're an EV with flexibility. It's just, is the engineering worth it to get to that sort of speed? Or do you capture most of your value in some of the slower services? But that's what Jon's there to tell you, isn't he? I guess he's working that out every day. But no, I think there is a know. I think grid operators are absolutely assuming that really significant, the vast majority of the flexibility in the future is going to come from these demand side sources. They're building their systems around it, they're building their engineering, thinking around it, and we need to make sure it happens.

 

[00:29:53.150] - Jon Slowe

Well, keeping on time, I think it's a perfect segue to bring up the talking new energy crystal ball and look into the future. So I'm going to set the dial this week to 2035 and quite a general question to each of you. Can you from the year 2035 give us a brief summary of a TSO and how they're balancing the system? Maybe, Duncan, what they're measuring or how they're measuring inertia in the year 2035? So Duncan, would you like to go first with a view back in 2035 and then Jon?

 

[00:30:26.470] - Duncan Burt

Yeah. So for a TSO in 2035, I think I'd say three things. One is I think there'll be an awful lot of innovation in terms of maximising the capability of existing route kilometres of transmission system with things like rating enhancements and such like there'll be a whole load of data acquisition on system visibility of which measurement of inertia will be core in every single developed market and most of the emerging markets around the world and will be know, just like Jon said, people will talk about it in the same way they talk about frequency response. And then the other big bit is fascinating will be the scale of integration with DSO markets by then. And I think we will see really significant integration and you might actually find the TSO is a bit of a passenger that is just scraping the top 15% off a much larger DSO market that is managing local constraints and local issues on the grid.

 

[00:31:24.650] - Jon Slowe

More of the balancing gets done further down the network and the TSO sorts out what's left.

 

[00:31:31.130] - Duncan Burt

The TSO will still do a lot, but I think the DSOs will be doing more. They'll end up with bigger markets overall.

 

[00:31:36.950] - Jon Ferris

But Jon, I certainly agree with that and build on that, that TSOs have typically been focused at the national level, at the big generators and getting flexibility from the assets that they can see that they have some influence or control over in response to the national demand. I think we're going to see a much more layered approach which puts the TSO in the middle of what's happening at the local level, where the DSOs are going to have to become much more involved in managing what's happening on their own networks. But we're also becoming much more interconnected and with renewables across vast areas, the opportunity for international flexibility, rather the need for international flexibility as well as national and as well as local, and how that's coordinated is going to be essential for a cost effective energy transition.

 

[00:32:35.190] - Duncan Burt

Very true.

 

[00:32:35.840] - Jon Slowe

Well, it sounds like you described at the beginning, Duncan, the change that TSOs have been on from when you started in 20 years ago to today, and we've got another decade or two of big change going forward in our electricity systems. So it's going to be an exciting place to be.

 

[00:32:50.920] - Duncan Burt

It is. I can't recommend it enough.

 

[00:32:53.910] - Jon Slowe

Well, let's leave it there today. Thanks very much, Duncan, for your time.

 

[00:32:58.360] - Duncan Burt

Thanks. Thank you for having me. It's great to see you, Jon. And Jon, great to see you, too.

 

[00:33:02.430] - Jon Slowe

And Jon Ferris, thanks for joining. Thanks for your time. Thank you.

 

[00:33:06.110] - Jon Slowe

Thanks to everyone for listening. We hope that you learned something new today and got some new perspectives and insights on the electricity system and that maybe you take them back to your day-to-day work in the energy transition and use them or apply them in some way. Thanks for listening and look forward to welcoming you back next week. Goodbye.

 

[00:33:24.970] - Sandra Trittin

Thanks for tuning in. We are excited to bring you captivating conversations from the leading edge of Europe's energy transition. If you've got suggestions for topics or guests for future episodes, please let us know.

 

[00:33:36.770] - Jon Slowe

And if you're enjoying the podcast, then please do rate it and share it with colleagues. For show notes, transcripts, and more, please visit lcpdelta.com.

 

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