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Electricity price predictions

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Transparent
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Whether Ofgem is 😴  or not, I couldn't possibly comment.

But I think we should recognise that the better locations for generation from renewable sources just happen to be those with low population densities.
Even if SSEN Transmission wanted to strictly comply with Ofgem's Directive on Access Charges (May'22), they won't get much by passing the hat around.
There are less than 1.5M residents in the Highlands and Islands.

In SW England, where I am, NGED has obtained permission from Ofgem to raise the Standing Charge significantly over the past couple of years.
Would you like SSEN Transmission to apply the same formula?

How would residents of the Scottish Highlands respond if their Standing Charges were increased by several hundred percent by an un-elected regulator based in London?!

I recall things haven't work out too well for the English on previous occasions when excessive levies were demanded of the population north of the border.

I think it likely that SSEN will be threatened with a fine on this occasion.
True, they haven't requested generators to contribute to infrastructure upgrades,
but they have pushed the Transmission Use of Service (TUoS) charges to a level which Ofgem could reasonably object to!

 

All of this is being changed.

Read that Decision Notice on the creation of the Independent System Operator and Planner (ISOP).
They will take over the operation of all energy networks by the end of this year, 2024.

Then look further on in the same document and you'll see that Regional Energy Strategic Planning bodies (RESPs) are to be formed next year.

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/decision-future-local-energy-institutions-and-governance

In essence, energy strategy is being devolved away from policy-makers in London and given to new organisations who are charged with delivering Net Zero.

There's a debate as to whether Scotland should have one RESP or two.

image

Here's your chance to get involved in the RESP(s) which will plan future energy strategy for your area.

Tell Ofgem what you think,
and then write to SSEN Transmission with your ideas.
They'll be starting to look around as to how the RESP in their area is to be formed.

Save energy... recycle electrons!


   
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Mars
 Mars
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Posted by: @transparent

Tell Ofgem what you think,
and then write to SSEN Transmission with your ideas.
They'll be starting to look around as to how the RESP in their area is to be formed.

I'd love to know how many emails and letters you send daily to the powers-that-be. I bet it's a lot. 😀 

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Abernyte
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Posted by: @transparent

There are less than 1.5M residents in the Highlands and Islands.

Why should the local population density matter? This is about access to the grid which feeds everyone. It surely can't be that the country is reliant on Kirsty-Morag up the glen to fund all the excess charges so that a private company can control access to the grid.  It seems that a vital piece of national infrastructure is controlled by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board and JP Morgan Investments. Who thought this was a great idea?

It is also not about standing charges, which is a different thorn to be pulled from the public finger, and you are correct that Scotland has a history of not welcoming excess financial penalties being trailed by Westminster.  If we are to de-carbonise soon, and the PR mirage that is NetZero is meaningless in this, it needs to be Zero, then we should welcome renewables fully into the system and stop the 30% daily gas generation when there is an abundance of renewables available. 

Yes I will take part in that conversation on the next gen network which looks alarming like a rework of the old pals current scheme dressed up to appear more regional.  SSE have already been fined £9.6 million for fiddling the access charges before so I wont hold my breath on it all being made better.

 


   
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Transparent
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Population density is relevant to the Electricity Transmission companies because it defines the number of consumers from whom you can obtain revenue.

Scotland has an extensive transmission grid with a substantial number of direct connections, mainly from hydro-electric plants.
That's expensive to build, maintain and reinforce as generation capacity increases.

ScotlandGridFlows

This diagram is from National Grid ESO, to which I've added a key to identify the three voltages of the Scottish Transmission Grid.
The size of the orange arrows indicates the main electricity flows during winter.
Clearly, a very large proportion of that generation is being exported to England, for which the local population doesn't benefit.

For comparison, here's the matching diagram for my SW Region's exported electricity.
(Note that the 132Kv lines in England & Wales is part of the Distribution Grid, and therefore not shown here).

SW EnglandGridFlows

There's only one direct connection to the Transmission Grid in SW England, and that's Hinkley Nuclear Power station.
Consequently, the costs of maintaining the 400Kv grid in my area are far lower than those in Scotland.

 

Posted by: @abernyte

It surely can't be that the country is reliant on Kirsty-Morag up the glen to fund all the excess charges so that a private company can control access to the grid. 

Yes, that is presently the case.
The two Scottish transmission companies obtain their income from connection fees, and the Transmission Use-of-Service (TUoS) fees from consumers in their territory.

Whether it remains the case depends on how much we wish to get involved with the new Regional Energy Strategic Planner organisations.
The level of awareness amongst members of this Forum is far higher than Kirsty-Morag and the wider population of these fair Isles.
Ideally, I'd like to see members from this Forum present in all fourteen RESPs when they commence operation next year.

 

Posted by: @abernyte

Who thought this was a great idea?

The population of London think it's a great idea.
They have the lowest standing charges and energy charges of anywhere in GB.

Yes, we should indeed be welcoming more renewables into the system.
Of all categories of renewable generation, hydro is the most useful.
It's the only one where we can control the rate of flow.

That's why central government think it's good planning for Scotland to undertake a massive upgrade of their transmission grid...
... which the Scottish people will pay for.
What's not to like?

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Transparent

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Abernyte
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Posted by: @transparent

What's not to like?

Ouch!! 😀  Your broad view is greatly appreciated.


   
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Abernyte
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The upgrade to the 400kV line not far from me is out for consultation. Think I might sidle along for a wee chat!

https://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/projects/project-map/kintore-tealing-400kv-ohl-connection/#:~:text=Kintore%20%2D%20Tealing%20Overhead%20Line%20400kV,open%20until%2030th%20April%202024.


   
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Transparent
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That sounds an excellent plan @abernyte 
and if you can get a Local Councillor to attend too, then so much the better.
I don't know how Scottish local government is organised, but you need to be communicating with the level which oversees planning applications.

Most presentations and briefings from the grid companies are made to a group who they call 'stakeholders'.
These will be Councils, Social Housing organisations, airport and train operators, wind-farm owners, relevant heads of university depts, and people like me who are developing energy-related products.

So it's unusual for me to see that those open days from SSEN are for the general public.
They run the risk that 'questions from the floor' will be from a very low base of comprehension.

OTOH, anyone who starts asking serious questions, or interrupting speakers to request clarification of jargon, will be welcomed with open arms.
Use the intervals/coffee breaks to head straight for relevant SSEN engineering staff.
You can squeeze a lot of useful background detail from a project manager, for example.

 

Two other things stand out to me from that SSEN page.

image

They refer to National Grid ESO, but don't explain that it's ESO who operate the grid in Scotland.
It matters because ESO won't be around by the time this 400kv upgrade goes ahead!
Their role is being taken over by the new System Operator and Planner (ISOP) during 2024.

image

You are also given the name of the relevant SSEN liaison officer and her email address.

Putting both of these nuggets of information together, that gives you the opportunity to email Rhiannon directly and ask how these ESO Plans to 2030 are to be affected by the transition to ISOP.

If you start asking intelligent/relevant questions, then you're more likely to get invited to Stakeholder events.
That, in turn, will put you in a good position to learn more about the RESPs to be created next year.

Save energy... recycle electrons!


   
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I’m not that stupid, but I’m having trouble getting my head around this, science, engineering, physics, control engineering and programme management that’s my training and profession, but influencing government policy so that’s it doesn’t simply line the pockets of the government’s mates is a bit trickier.

@transparent can you please suggest what we should be saying other than

-stop lining the pockets of your mates

-stopping burning fossil fuels as soon as humanly possible is essential for us as a country and the world as a whole

-the cost of zero carbon must be carried fairly across the whole country

-have effective rules and regulators that prevent self-serving behaviour at the expense of everyone else

-a bit more detail needed on achieving the above!

Please tell us all!

Thanks

This post was modified 2 months ago by Judith

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Transparent
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Thanks Judith.

I'm hesitant to suggest that 'government' is merely lining the pockets of its mates.
There's little evidence to hold to such an argument.

OTOH there's a great many examples of government (at all levels) making decisions on energy without appreciating the underlying science.
That's as much my fault as it is theirs!

In a democracy, I have a responsibility to brief my Councillors and MP on what's happening, and introduce them to the engineering and statistics on which energy strategy should be based.
The great majority of the documents they get to see are:

  • text based
  • too long
  • too deeply technical

 

Let me take the example of an imaginary briefing paper from DESNZ to the Cabinet Office.

"We continue to attract significant overseas investment into the UK Energy sector.
This has resulted in employment opportunities increasing 20% when compared with 2021, and a forecast of increased employment growth towards 15% per annum by 2030".

Now let me flip the coin over and interpret the other side:

"The UK is immensely wealthy in its potential for electricity generation from renewable sources.
Foreign shareholders are eager to tap into this lucrative long-term cash-flow, and can see the opportunities of employing British engineering expertise to build solar/wind farms and grid infrastructure.
British universities are the best in the world at nurturing the required skills. Innovative design work by their post-graduates will be acquired by the overseas-based companies, who will subsequently own the IPR on all resulting products."

If Ministers only see the front side of the coin, then everything looks great.
That DESNZ statement inevitably finds its way into policy statements and election manifestos.

So how can I get a counter-argument to be noticed by my MP?

My usual strategy is to pick up just one point at a time.
I write an unsolicited 'Briefing Paper' and include eye-catching graphics.
I send it solely to my MP, because there are particular privileges attached to correspondence between an MP and a constituent.

Look back at an explanation I posted here in this topic a week ago:

image

You can read what I said earlier about that histogram.
But even without the description and source-references, it raises one obvious direct question which an MP should be asked:

Why does our present British energy strategy involve us generating so very much more electricity than the country requires?

Such an approach can lead to the start of a long-term dialogue with Ministers and Councillors.
Better still, it isn't getting lost amongst the plethora of mixed messages being published by energy-based lobby groups.

How's that for a starter?

You can reproduce any of the graphics I post here on the forum,
and it would be best to provide the URL of any forum discussion you refer to.
If an MP forwards your question to DESNZ or Ofgem, requesting an answer (which is quite likely), then their staff can look here to see more background detail.

Save energy... recycle electrons!


   
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Abernyte
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After me casting aspersions on SSEN upthread I had an unexpected face to face encounter with them yesterday.  The supply line to my property managed to fry its self leaving me in the dark, clutching my mug of breakfast tea. A quick report of the outage on their online form brought forth 4 van loads of SSEN engineers within one and half hours and the cable restored along with the chi and harmony, not to mention a boiling kettle, within an hour of that!  I cannot complain of service of that calibre.


   
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Transparent
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Ah... but that response was from your DNO @abernyte

There are two SSEN companies, with separate staff, and operating under different licences from Ofgem.

SSEN Transmission builds and maintains the 275kv and 400kv grid in the Scottish Highlands and islands

SSEN as a Distribution Network Operator holds the distribution licence for two regions

image

It is usually within their Ofgem licence terms that the Distribution Network Operator must be in open communication with consumers at several levels:

  • responding to outages within x hours
  • disconnecting and reconnecting premises as requested by electricians
  • responding to requests for grid-tied generation, storage, EV chargers and heat-pumps
  • consultations with local planning authorities
  • customer feedback on future plans
  • providing support to community energy companies

 

But that is not the case with the Transmission network companies.

NGET, SP Transmission and SSEN's Transmission company are not required to be in open communication with end-users.
We therefore need to make additional effort to engage with their engineers and project managers working in the higher-voltage electricity transmission sector.
Grab as many business cards as you get offered, and send them feedback on relevant subjects.

 

Save energy... recycle electrons!


   
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Abernyte
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Duly educated, thankyou!  


   
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