Replace National Grid with independent operator, says Energy and Climate Change Committee

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 17 June 2016 in News

Energy and Climate Change Committee cites difficulties facing small-scale low carbon generators

Pylon - credit: PA

A House of Commons Committee has recommended the National Grid be replaced by a US-style system with an independent operator.

Finding that small-scale low carbon electricity generators face “long and uncertain queues to connect to the grid”, the Energy and Climate Change Committee said system operation should be transferred from the National Grid to an Independent System Operator at national level and Distribution System Operators at the regional level.

But the National Grid rejected the report’s recommendations, saying a switch to the US model could create disruption in the energy sector and pose risks to security of supply.


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The Committee also warned that development of energy storage technology is being hindered by “legislative and regulatory inertia”.

Committee chair Angus MacNeil, SNP, said: “National Grid's technical expertise in operating the national energy system must be weighed against its potential conflicts of interest. The Independent System Operator model has worked in the USA. It is time for it to be brought to these shores.

“Local energy is here, with astonishing growth in generation connected directly to regional networks. Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) remain somewhat blind to their energy flows and passive in managing them. DNOs must transition to a more active role as Distribution System Operators so that they can use smart technologies to manage ever-more complicated energy flows.”

The report also urges the Government to establish a regulatory framework – overseen by Ofgem – to encourage investment in district heating and complement existing voluntary schemes in safeguarding consumers.

The National Grid is a private company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

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