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SP Energy Networks is aiming to make the transition to becoming a Distribution System Operator (DSO). FUSION represents a key element of that transition. As the electricity system changes from a centralised to decentralised model, it enables a smarter and more flexible network to function.


October 2018 – December 2023

Project Status


About the Project

About the Project

The increase in Distributed Energy Resources coupled with the increasing load demand from low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles has fuelled a need to create an active distribution network capable of managing modern customers’ needs.

Our innovative FUSION project is trialling commoditised local demand-side flexibility through a structured and competitive market, based on the Universal Smart Energy Framework (USEF).

FUSION will enable Distribution Network Operators and all market actors to unlock the value of local network flexibility in a competitive and transparent manner. This will be enabled by applying the functions and structure defined in the USEF.

SP Energy Networks are working closely with the Energy Networks Association (ENA) on the Open Networks Project. This collaborative work will accelerate our transition to a Distribution System Operator.

A key feature of an active distribution network is the ability to draw on network flexibility to alleviate constraints. FUSION will be enabling Distribution Network Operators and all market actors to unlock the value of local network flexibility. FUSION will create a flexibility market to unlock the value of flexibility in a competitive and transparent manner. This will be enabled by applying the functions and structure defined in the Universal Smart Energy Framework (USEF).


We've recently been given the green light by Ofgem for a £6m investment in FUSION and as such the project is now underway.  Read more about it here.   


The Benefits For Customers

  • FUSION will unlock flexibility in the distribution network: this means it can be procured by a range of market actors. Aggregators will be able to operate to aid the development of the flexibility market. By facilitating this neutral market, network flexibility will be accessible to all parties.
  • For the Distribution Network Operators, constraint management will be trialled, alleviating localised network congestion without requiring costly and time consuming network reinforcement. This will provide excellent value for money for customers. The creation of a flexibility market will go beyond existing bilateral trading of flexibility, providing a whole systems approach to realising the value of flexibility.
  • Customers will also be empowered to commoditise their flexibility thanks to new routes to market for existing and emerging flexibility providers in the distribution network.
  • This smarter use of the distribution network assets means significant carbon and environmental benefits. The system favours renewable energy sources and facilitates the uptake of low carbon technologies.  


Project Partners

Project Partners

DNV GL, Origami Energy, PassivSystems, Imperial College London (Academic partner), SAC Consulting, Fife Council, The University of St Andrews.

Working in Coordination

ENA Open Networks Project.

Collaboration with

SSEN & ENWL: TRANSITION, WPD: Electricity Flexibility and Forecasting System (EFFS)

Reports & Documents



TEF logoFUSION is working directly with TRANSITION (SSEN in partnership with ENWL) and EFFS (WPD), two other awarded NIC 2017 projects focussing on the Distribution System Operator transition. The aim of this is to develop a thorough and robust collaboration structure and plan. Collectively the projects are referred to as T.E.F. (TRANSITION, EFFS, FUSION). This is a welcomed project funding condition for all three projects.

SP Energy Networks are proactively engaging in discussions, workshops and reporting to develop the collaboration plan, finding and developing synergies across the projects to enable and promote collaboration wherever possible.


USEF Consultation

We are coordinating a consultation on the Universal Smart Energy Framework (USEF) as part of the third Work Package (WP3) of Project FUSION. This explores the application of the USEF framework in the GB context and seeks to inform policy development around flexibility markets and the DSO transition. The current consultation seeks the opinion of GB energy market stakeholders towards innovative elements within USEF that could enrich current discussions and views on future energy market design. Project FUSION has developed multiple recommendations for implementing USEF in the GB energy system, and now invites stakeholders to provide feedback, to ensure USEF proposals are valid and relevant, as well as to enhance these where possible. This consultation document is based on Due Diligence of the USEF framework against GB context as well as multiple workshops with key industry stakeholders by DNV GL (FUSION project partner)”

What is the universal smart energy framework (USEF)?

This is a standardised framework that provides guidelines to build an integrated smart energy future. Its purpose is to accelerate the establishment of an integrated smart energy system which benefits all stakeholders, from energy companies to consumers.  The USEF framework aims to facilitate effective coordination across all the different actors involved in the electricity market by providing a common standardised role model and market design while describing communication requirements and interactions between market roles. USEF turns flexible energy use into a tradeable commodity available for all energy market participants, separate from, but in coordination with, the traditional electricity supply chain to optimise the use of resources. USEF’s ongoing development is managed by the USEF Foundation, a dedicated core team tasked with coordinating expertise, projects and partners while safeguarding the integrity and objectives of USEF.

How to engage and respond to consultation

The consultation is available online for eight weeks until 30th August 2019. Response to the consultation can be provided by completing as many questions as possible on the form, or via email to We encourage all to participate in the consultation.

How we will use your feedback

Once this consultation closes, all the responses will be summarised in a separate document, which will be published here on the website. The feedback we receive will provide industry learnings and inform the development of a reference implementation plan of USEF in the GB market, as well as the flexibility market trial in Project FUSION.

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