The Future Power System Architecture — An Opportunity for the UK to be an Energy System Leader?

The UK has recently seen the launch of the second stage of work on its Future Power System Architecture (FPSA), known as FPSA2. It highlights the world leading cross sector knowledge and expertise related to energy in the UK. This work was a collaboration between the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), you can find more details here.

The most interesting development in FPSA2 aside from the validation of the findings from FPSA1, was the development of an innovative mechanism to implement the functional needs of the future system (there are 35). This mechanism, termed: Enabling Frameworks (EF); will implement what is no doubt the most significant transformation project across any sector (at least in recent memory). The development of Enabling Frameworks stems from the acknowledgement that the current industry change and regulatory processes cannot deliver the pace or scale of change needed. The rate and pace of change is predominantly being driven by technological innovation and falling costs across many energy related domains including: electric vehicles, renewable energy, home automation, IoT and digitalisation in general. This author had the privilege of working on this particular aspect of the project, more details of which can be found in the FPSA2 reports (in particular WP4), or summarised in the project blog.

The outcomes of FPSA2 are result of intensive work from a large body of experts, with significant stakeholder involvement. For these ideas to be implemented and the benefits realised, it is critical that this programme of work maintain both its industry and government based support. These perspectives have been echoed by others within the IET and ESC. Maintaining the momentum behind these system changes is critical to ensure that the benefits of the changing system can be delivered to consumers. This is because of the large number of actors and activities that need to be effectively coordinated and the size, complexity and embedded value in the system. Also of critical importance is the significant opportunity this presents for the UK to be a leader in a key future industrial sector. It is therefore crucial, that leaders across the public and private sector watch this space carefully, lest another significant opportunity for UK industrial leadership be lost.