The current issue of the Distribution System Security and Planning Standards (DSSPS) was approved by the CER in January 2015 (following a consultative process) and plays a major role in the development of a safe, secure, reliable, economic and efficient distribution network in Ireland.
In common with most DSOs across the world, our Planning Standard is primarily deterministic based, and is largely focused around ensuring sufficient capacity is available to meet the ‘peak demand’ and/or ‘peak generation’ in a manner and timeframe consistent with the needs of our customers. The standard is also ‘risk based’ to such an extent that connections at higher voltages serving a larger amount of load receive a higher level of security. The control and operation system we have in place at present to manage the distribution network essentially aligns to this philosophy.
Technological advancements allowing ESB Networks to move towards a more active management system with more flexible and dynamic tools at our disposal, together with the many changes affecting the overall energy system at present, including the large-scale deployment of non-network technologies such as Demand Side Response (DSR), electrification of transport and energy storage and the changing role of the customer are key drivers that have given rise to the need for ESB Networks to fundamentally and holistically review the Planning Standards within a broad stakeholder engagement forum to determine the best outcome for all users (current and future) of the distribution system.
The review will consist of two distinct phases. Phase 1 is a comprehensive research, analysis and modelling engagement and consultation process. There will be no preconceived ideas about what changes are required. The changes arising from the review may range from a modification and update of the current arrangements, development of a completely new approach starting from first principles, through to recommending removal of any deterministic planning standard, relying instead on regulatory incentives and other legislation to motivate efficient network design.
The essential task of Phase 1 is to research and develop a range of options for the overall approach to structure and detail the appropriate level of network planning and security standards and then to propose how such options can be evaluated, particularly in light of the advancements ESB Networks will be making towards a more active management system. There will be significant engagement with key stakeholder groups to inform the process. We will ensure that the principle of non-discriminatory access to the distribution system is maintained and that the options being considered will continue to provide for a safe, secure, reliable, economic and efficient distribution system in the new future environment. The research will consider the outputs from the review, trials, pilots and projects that will be carried out as part of the connection renewables roadmap and, where appropriate, other roadmaps. We will then evaluate the options and recommend the most appropriate approach that should be taken forward into Phase 2.
Phase 2 will take forward the recommendations settled upon in Phase 1 and begin the process of bringing these changes into business as usual. A smooth transition plan is essential to ensure the integrity of the system is maintained. This will include any necessary revisions of our Distribution System Security and Planning Standards document and, if necessary in other related policy or standards documentation; submission of the revised documents as appropriate for CER review and approval; implementation of the new planning standards in line with a more active management system; a communications plan throughout the process but in particular around the roll-out of any changes to key stakeholder groups.
Key deliverable(s) -
- Phase 1: Research and develop a range of options for the overall approach to structure and detail the appropriate level of network planning and security standards and then to propose how such options can be evaluated.
- Phase 2: Evaluate the recommendations settled upon in Phase 1 and begin the process of bringing these changes into business as usual.