Interim report of the Smart grid working group: On the way towards a flexible and customer-driven electricity system
The Smart grid working group appointed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment in autumn 2016 has reached the half-way mark in its reflections and published its interim report at a stakeholder seminar held in the House of Estates on 9 October 2017. The group’s final report is expected to come out in autumn 2018.
The working group's aim is to create a smart electricity system to serve as a cost-effective platform that meets the needs of customers and society. This platform will be implemented by electricity market actors, service providers, technology suppliers and grid companies. The key question addressed by the working group concerns the roles of different actors in implementing demand-side management.
“Everyone agrees that consumers will play a larger role in the future electricity network, and customer involvement in the electricity market will be vital. It is great that the working group takes a broad view of this issue, notes Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister for Housing, Energy and the Environment.
A key principle of the working group is that customers’ electricity consumption must be guided by a competitive business environment, as the most efficient decisions on electricity consumption and production are made in a price-driven market. The time control and compulsory time division of distribution network companies would thus be phased out in a controlled manner, once a sufficient amount of cost-effective consumption monitoring services are available. Owning and operating storages should also be primarily a task for market operators, not monopolies.
Different energy communities and aggregators that gather customers into larger groups will create new benefits and bring the customers opportunities to influence their electricity bills and the environmental impacts of their electricity supply.
The benefits created by aggregation of customers' electricity production, consumption and reserves were regarded positively. Energy communities and aggregators are both new to the electricity market, and consequently, their definition and the rules and regulation on their operation need to be specified in further detail.
Many possible changes in such aspects as transfer pricing or taxation are highly relevant to small consumers, which stresses the role of communication and advice. Particular attention must also be paid to impact assessments.
“The group will continue its work. In the next phase, we will look at the properties of next-generation intelligent meters, a retail market model as well as building and grid regulation that supports demand-side management. We will add detail to any questions that remain open and make more concrete plans”, notes Tatu Pahkala, chair of the working group, from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment's Energy Department.
To read the Smart grid working group’s interim report, visit www.tem.fi/julkaisut
Tatu Pahkala, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4217