Network JulyAugust 2018

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NETWORK / 19 / JULY/AUGUST 2018 HEAT NET WORKS Protecting customers T he Competition and Markets Author- ity (CMA) has announced as part of its heat network market investigation that in its view the heat network industry should be regulated to ensure customers on these schemes are protected. While for many, news of a market inves - tigation by the CMA may bring a sense of foreboding, for the heat network industry, the news of both the market study and its interim findings have been welcomed. There is a sense within indus - try that change needs to happen – both to ensure customer protec- tion and support the growth of a subsidy-free market. Industry has been proactive in driving up standards to-date and the CMA's announcement aligns with similar recommendations already made by industry. Indeed, ADE has supported the CMA with its market study and shared its heat network proposals as part this work. The ADE-led Heat Network Industry Task Force group has already called for a regulatory framework to reduce investment risk and guarantee customer protection, in its Shared Warmth report, published in January. Like the CMA's market study, the Task Force also considered and sought to address the challenges created by the natural monopoly of heat networks, including the role Lily Frencham, senior policy manager at the Association for Decentralised Energy, on why the CMA and industry agree that customer protection is imperative. for regulation in price, contract length and structure, and com- petition. It is critical that any future regulatory framework introduced is carefully conceived, as this will serve to not only protect custom - ers but also to reduce investment risk on heat networks to support market growth – which, in turn, will support better outcomes for the end-consumer. The Task Force has recom - mended that the regulatory framework created is one which provides investors in heat networks with an assurance of customer demand for heat, in re - turn for a commitment to meeting particular standards for pricing and customer services, as well as plans for decarbonisation. Securing investment and protecting customers are two sides of the same coin; contented customers are key to investors being confident and willing to invest in the market, which in turn drives down investment cost and so customers' heat bills. The work done by industry to date in driving up standards and making the call for regulation has been cited by the CMA and we now look forward to having the opportunity to providing ongoing support as it finalises its study. Now is the time to set the framework for a thriving heat net - work market for decades to come – one that delivers for customers, delivers for investors and delivers for the environment. As networks seek to respond to changing operational demands and the ongoing drive for efficiency, flexibility is key. The portable 'plug & play' relay and control rooms provided by design and engineering experts Acrastyle offer just this flexibility, enabling network operators to respond rapidly to changing needs. The portable relay rooms are self-contained, fully integrated portable buildings containing several interconnected sub-systems, allowing customers to quickly integrate the protection system onsite. They can be positioned on site often near the project completion date and simply cabled up to a single marshalling kiosk. One such project, deployed at Tamnamore substation in Northern Ireland, included four fully equipped portable relay rooms, 11 marshalling kiosks, a suite of ten 110kV protection panels and a 110kV, three bay mosaic mimic control panel. Acrastyle's rigorously tested designs also provided a user- friendly graphical interface for operational staff. Adopting this approach saw significant reductions in installation and commissioning timelines as well as reductions in cost as compared to installing a more traditional brick-built substation building. The benefits don't end there: the flexibility of the solution allows for alterations in configuration at a later stage in the lifecycle of the substation should this become necessary, reducing the need for further costly and disruptive upgrades. To find out more about this solution, and the full range of protection and control equip- ment offered by Acrastyle, please contact: W: E: T: +44 (0) 1229 583232 I N D U S T RY I N S I G H T Flexibility is key

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