How is Western Power Distribution helping their local and rural customers meet net zero?

Below is an article supplied by Western Power Distribution who are members of the Rural Services Partnership

The UK’s electricity system is undergoing a rapid period of change as distribution network customers invest in generation and alter their consumption behaviours to reduce future carbon emissions. The target to reach a Net Zero level of carbon emissions is now enshrined in legislation and UK homes and businesses are beginning to move to lower carbon forms of generation (solar, battery etc.), heating (heat source pumps) and mobility (electric vehicles). To enable a greater volume of demand, WPDs networks are becoming smarter and more active. Creating a more efficient and flexible system will benefit customers and empower them to be the centre of the energy revolution. To enable this, Western Power Distribution is changing from a Distribution Network Operator (DNO) a company that owns and operates the electric power lines and infrastructure that connect the electric network to your property, to a Distribution System Operator (DSO) a company that operates and develops an active electricity distribution system comprising networks, demand, generation etc.

As energy becomes more decentralised and its consumption becomes more varied, the DSO will have a significant role in optimising actions at the local level and ensuring local resources can support delivery of an efficient and resilient system.

In practice, the DSO will want to guide consumers to take certain actions to reduce the impacts at times of peak, for instance increasing demand in high renewable areas when it is sunny, or increasing generation output at peak consumption periods. Customers who have flexible demand, generation or storage will be able to access revenue streams from the DSO to help support other customers who cannot shift their consumption.

WPD want to raise awareness on how its move to a more active electricity system may help support rural areas achieve Net Zero. WPD want to ensure that rural areas are not left behind as a result of this transition.

Opportunities to produce renewable energy from sources such as wind, solar and hydro are generally higher in rural areas compared to urban areas. Communities located near these natural assets may, in turn, have greater potential to benefit from these energy sources. However, a range of technological, economic and behavioural factors can limit the extent to which rural communities can take advantage of these opportunities. WPD can help support these developments through our Community Energy Surgeries, which are one to one sessions with local energy groups or interested stakeholders who are seeking to develop projects connecting to our network.

Smart technology including smart metering will help rural communities harness renewable energy and benefit from energy that is cheaper, more efficient and more secure.

Some portions of the electricity distribution networks in rural areas face grid constraints which show the extent of the challenge in fulfilling the potential of rural areas to exploit energy resources. These areas may also be poorly served by the gas network, making investment in new electricity capacity a more certain proposition. WPD has identified these areas and is planning when this investment should be undertaken. These investments are planned locally across our region and WPD invites early discussion with rural areas to ensure all their future needs are met. Net Zero investment plans can be developed in our Net Zero Surgeries.

To check if WPD distribute electricity to your area please check here

For further information on WPD transition from DNO to DSO please access:

WPD DSO Forward Plan view is available here
WPD DSO Strategy is available here
WPD DSO Video Library available here
To book a Community Energy Surgery here
Net Zero Surgeries here

If you have any questions in relation to WPD’s transition from DNO to DSO and how it might affect you, please contact us on the details below:


By post: Network Strategy Team, Western Power Distribution, Feeder Road, Bristol, BS2 0TB


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