Our Network Development Plan

16/03/2022

We’ve now launched a new data publication to provide transparency on our network intervention plans and the capacity they release. This new annual publication is called our Network Development Plan (NDP) - you can have your say on it by completing our survey!

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Sharing data is key to the efficiency of the energy system as we decarbonise to Net Zero. It enables customers and stakeholders to assess market opportunities and network companies to promote efficient whole system planning and operation.

Our draft Network Development Plan (NDP) aims to provide greater transparency on our network intervention plans and forecast capacity headroom. Our NDP includes forecasts of how much demand and generation headroom we anticipate across our distribution networks, with details of interventions including the widescale use of flexibility and innovation.

The document will be finalised in early May, following stakeholder feedback, and updated annually.

Given that the purpose of NDPs is to share information with stakeholders, it’s important that these documents meet our stakeholders’ needs.

To make sure you can have your say, we’ve launched a survey which you can complete below. The survey will be open until 16 April 2022.

We look forward to hearing your views.

Click here to take the survey


Our NDP document structure

This publication is a suite of documents that explain how we plan to deliver the capacity our customers need to decarbonise, and to set out where our network has capacity headroom to accommodate demand and generation growth. There are separate documents for SP Distribution and SP Manweb.

  • Executive Summary
  • Network Development Report – providing detailed information on our intervention plan
  • Network Capacity Headroom Report – demand and generation headroom at each substation to 2050 with planned interventions
  • Methodology Statement

How this publication supports our future plans

Our RIIO-ED2 Business Plan sets out how SPEN will transition from a Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to a Distribution System Operator (DSO) and how this is critical to facilitating Net Zero. Our NDP is an important DSO activity supporting long-term whole system planning.

Becoming a DSO requires a major step change in how we plan, design and operate a distribution system. It involves increasing the visibility of our network at all voltage levels; examining and managing the operability challenges affecting the grid in real time; and strengthening the analytical tools and capabilities.

Publishing our NDP is just one measure we’re taking to increase the transparency of how we plan and operate our distribution network, and is aligned with our approach of sharing an increasing range of network data with stakeholders. Other ongoing data provisions include:

  • Distribution Future Energy Scenarios (DFES) forecasts – these are forecasts for key customer demand and generation metrics up until 2050. We develop these considering a range of sources, including UK and devolved government targets and other industry forecasts. Given the uncertainties out to 2050, we create forecasts for four main energy scenarios.
  • Long Term Development Statements (LTDS) – these statements contain a range of information on our 132kV, 33kV, and 11kV network. This information helps customers identify opportunities and carry out high level assessments of the capability of the network to accommodate new demand and generation.
  • Embedded Capacity Register – previously known as the System Wide Resource Register, this provides information on generation and storage resources (≥1MW) that are connected, or accepted to connect, to our distribution network.
  • Heatmaps – these provide a geographic view of where there is available network capacity to accommodate new generation.
  • Flexibility tenders – we tender for flexibility for all viable network constraints. When we run tenders we publish information on the location, magnitude, and duration of the constraint.

Looking forward to RIIO-ED2, we also intend to share a much wider range of historical, near-time, real-time, and forecast data with stakeholders. This will be underpinned by infrastructure to gather, assess, and share data, and engagement with stakeholders to prioritise data publication. Further details can be found in our DSO Strategy.

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