Coordinating network costs and flexibility
Our networks link together a diverse range of energy sources. This will remain vital as we move further towards a decentralised energy system, and the greater demand for sources of flexibility that we expect that to create. Gas networks currently connect around 80% of households in Scotland, delivering comparatively low cost and reliable energy access to energy storage several hundred times greater than our electricity networks. This supports the wider energy system by absorbing large swings in daily demand of energy for heating in domestic and non-domestic premises. The value of this flexibility needs to be considered as we make decisions about the future of our energy networks, and investment decisions in both electricity and gas must consider the potential to use smart systems, demand management and energy storage to make the most efficient use of networks to deliver low carbon energy. There are opportunities here to create thriving local markets for energy production, flexible generation and demand.
We need a meaningful debate on and understanding of this transition, involving domestic consumers, business consumers, and the energy sector. Renewable generators and gas producers need to understand the forms of flexibility and services that network operators might ask of them in future.
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