FPSA3 – Fast Track to Britain’s Future Power System

Future Power System Architecture - Phase 3

The Future Power System Architecture programme (FPSA) is an ongoing collaboration between The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and The Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), which was originally established to take forward the IET’s Power Network Joint Vision (PNJV) thinking. Its initial task was to explore the new and enhanced functionality that would be needed in the power system in the near future.

The FPSA work has been sponsored by Government and Innovate UK, and has brought together extensive expertise and experience, combining technical, commercial, regulatory, digital and customer perspectives. The position of the IET and ESC in the sector assures impartiality of approach and recommendations.


It started with PNJV’s publication of Handling a Shock to the System [PDF, 723KB] in December 2013. This report highlighted the technical challenges that the power system faced and proposed a more coordinated way to address them. It also raised some important issues for many in Government and the power sector.

FPSA challenge In 2015, BEIS (the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, but was at that time the Department for Energy and Climate Change) provided funding to establish the FPSA programme, which led to the publication of the Phase 1 reports in July 2016. This work identified 35 new or enhanced whole power system functions.

Following Phase 1, the FPSA programme moved on to explore the ways in which the proposed new functionality could be implemented, including the identification and analysis of the barriers to implementation. This led to the publication in June 2017 of the Phase 2 reports. A conclusion from these outputs was that the current change and governance arrangements were not fit for purpose. The FPSA programme outlined a new approach as a model for reform in Phase 2, which has been explored further in Phase 3.

Many of the whole system issues identified in Phase 1 are also the concerns of National Grid, expressed through its System Operability Framework. The FPSA programme's whole system thinking and its insight into the nature and scale of change required by 2030 takes its place with other initiatives with shared goals and objectives. The Open Networks project at the ENA is a notable example as is the work now actively underway in Ofgem addressing RIIO2.

A new publication, titled ‘Fast Track to Britain’s Future Power System’ has now been released to coincide with the completion of Phase 3, featuring a number of key findings that are highlighted on the Energy Systems Catapult website alongside the Phase 3 reports.


FPSA3 reports

Future Power System Architecture Project Phase three - documents


The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

Also, in 2018 BEIS launched its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The work of the FPSA programme was referenced directly in the supporting information for two ‘Smart local energy systems’ funding competitions focusing on demonstrators and concepts and designs. There is potential for the FPSA programme to work with the winning projects to demonstrate its whole system vision and approach to change governance.

Since the original PNJV work, the sector conversation has changed substantially. Many of the requirements called out in PNJV have happened, for example, through advances in electric vehicle range and penetration. Much of the thinking that was controversial then is now mainstream and there is considerable activity in the UK and more widely to deepen understanding of the issues involved and to demonstrate potential solutions.

The role of the FPSA programme is now changing, from progressively initiating more near-to-market programmes of activity, to helping shape, influence and support the work of others.

However, there are some further vital changes that are needed, which are not yet embedded in mainstream thinking. The most significant of these are:

  • Considering the system as a whole, with those parts in the hands of customers being as significant in the analysis as those in the hands of utility companies and large generators
  • Embedding a forward-looking capability for change into the organisational infrastructure for change and its management
  • The broad concept of an enablement organisation, an entity or organisation charged with ensuring coordination and cross-boundary accountabilities for an ever-more complex system. The FPSA programme, in the professional view of its lead members, believes these are essentials for the future British energy system and will continue to make the case for them and wishes to work (along with its partner organisations The IET and the Energy Systems Catapult) with all parts of the industry to ensure their progress

For more information on the FPSA project, contact the FPSA project team at the Energy Systems Catapult via fpsa@es.catapult.org.uk or the IET via energy@theiet.org