DS3 Programme

Our Delivering a Secure Sustainable Electricity System (DS3) programme seeks to address the challenge of integrating world-leading levels of renewable generation onto our power system.

What is the DS3 Programme?

Delivering a Secure Sustainable Electricity System

In response to binding national and European targets, SONI, as part of EirGrid Group, began a multi-year programme, “Delivering a Secure, Sustainable Electricity System” (DS3).

In keeping with United Kingdom and wider European policy, Northern Ireland has a target to achieve 40% of its electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020. 

The aim of the DS3 Programme is to meet the challenges of operating the electricity system in a secure manner while achieving this 2020 renewable electricity target. The DS3 Programme is designed to ensure that we can securely operate the power system with increasing amounts of variable non-synchronous renewable generation over the coming years. Achieving this level of renewable integration on a synchronous system is unprecedented and presents significant challenges for the real-time operation of the power system.

So far the DS3 Programme has enabled SONI to increase levels of renewable generation possible on the system at any given time from 50% to 65%, with the aim of increasing this incrementally to 75% over the coming years.

The DS3 programme has bought together numerous important strands of work to facilitate Northern Ireland and Ireland's ambition to produce 40% of electricity from renewable sources. This exciting and challenging programme is built on three pillars, each vital to its success. These are:

  • System Performance
  • System Policies
  • System Tools

Across these three pillars we are fundamentally reviewing how we do things across the electricity industry to ensure policies, incentives, standards and tools are fit for purpose in a system with world-leading levels of renewables.

For more on the DS3 Programme, read our information brochure here.

The programme involves many different stakeholders, including the Distribution Network Owners (DNOs), Regulatory Authorities, Conventional Generators and Renewable Generators, as well as Government Departments.

As part of this programme, we have established an Advisory Council to ensure that the views of industry are well represented. Read more information here.

Additional information on DS3 can be found in the library section of this website.

One of the key areas in the DS3 Programme is System Services. We want to make sure that the system operates securely and efficiently, while facilitating higher levels of renewable energy. To achieve this aim, we are working to obtain a range of services from as wide a pool of generators and market participants as possible. This includes the development of financial incentives for better plant performance. This should mean savings for the consumer and an increase in the levels of renewable energy we can accommodate at any given time.

We produce a quarterly update on the System Services Implementation Project Plan. Read the most recent update here.

DS3 System Services Interim Arrangements Procurement

SONI and EirGrid have published the outcome of the procurement for the DS3 System Services Interim Arrangements. This includes a summary of successful tenderers and the services for which they have been contracted for both Northern Ireland and Ireland. Eleven system services were procured from service providers in Ireland and Northern Ireland under the DS3 System Services procurement process, with separate framework agreements for each jurisdiction. The Interim Arrangements became effective on 1 October 2016.

SONI and EirGrid have also published a summary of the contracted volumes for the DS3 System Services Interim Arrangements together with the forecast expenditure for the Interim Arrangements period (1 October 2016 to 30 September 2017). Since the publication of the summary of the contracted volumes the Interim Arrangements period has been extended until the 30 April 2018. The contracted volumes remain the same for this period.

The aim of DS3 System Services is to put in place the correct structure, level and type of service in order to ensure that the system can operate securely with higher levels of non-synchronous renewable generation (up to 75% instantaneous penetration).

August 2018 Update:

Volume Uncapped Phase 1 and Phase 2 Update:

Volume Uncapped Phase 1 arrangements (11 services) went live on May 1st 2018. Volume Uncapped Phase 2 arrangements (FFR services) are scheduled to go live on October 1st 2018.

The TSOs intend to hold an industry feedback session following the conclusion of the Phase 2 procurement process to gather learnings from the Phase 1 and 2 processes (including procurement, testing and performance monitoring) to incorporate in future gates of the Qualification System.

In addition the TSOs intend to consult on the Volume Uncapped contractual arrangements prior to the next gate of the Qualification System, with a view to improving clarity in the terms and conditions of the arrangements.

Such consultation will include issues that have been raised to date by industry such as the inclusion of termination clauses based on plant closure provisions of the Grid Code or derogation from the notice provisions thereunder; clarification of wording describing performance assessment of Providing Units;  clarification of business processes in the Protocol document.

Documents

All published compliance procedures and reports can be found here – this includes:

An updated DSU application form

Updated Signals specification document 

A Guidance Document 

 

DS3 Advisory Council

The DS3 Advisory Council was established in 2011 to provide a forum to discuss issues which may impact on the success of DS3. The Council consists of experts from across the power industry. This includes representatives from academia and industry across Northern Ireland, Ireland and Europe. Meetings are held approximately every four months and links to documents from these meetings are available here

DS3 Consultations and Publications

Links to DS3 Consultations and Publications are available here