Project Overview

The purpose of MERLIN is to assist our understanding of how economics will impact future energy networks. In a future world forecasts suggest distributed energy resources (DER) will be fundamental in reducing costs associated with increasing energy demand from electric vehicles (EVs) and variable power flows from renewable generation. With hundreds, possibly thousands of DER services operating on our electricity network it will be essential that we are able to effectively manage these services not only from a physics perspective, but also from an economic perspective. MERLIN will make use of Canadian based Opus One’s GridOS tools to assist with economic modelling of future networks. This will help us understand the cost impact of DER services, allow us to make more informed investment decisions and assist in managing a wide ranging portfolio of DER services.


Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) SSEN own and operate over 130,000km of over overhead lines and underground cables and are responsible for the safe, reliable and cost effective distribution of electricity across its networks in the north of Scotland and south of England. UK energy networks are going through a period of significant change where Distributed Energy Networks (DNOs), such as SSEN, are taking on complex challenges as they transition towards Distribution System Operators (DSOs). SSEN is working across a broad spectrum of projects, such as Transition, LEO and MERLIN, which are designed to help our understanding on how we meet these future challenges most effectively.

Opus One Solutions
Opus One are a Canadian based company who have developed the GridOS platforms designed to assist those in the Energy Industry make smarter and more informed decisions. Their mission is to transform the way homes, communities, cities and grids interact in the Energy Internet.

Open Grid Systems Ltd (OGS)
OGS is a Glasgow based software and consultancy company providing services to the electrical power industry focussed on model-driven software engineering, open standards and cutting-edge technologies. OGS provides expertise in the areas of data management, information modelling, data transformation, data-exchange technologies, visualisation and power system network analysis software. We utilise the power of open standards and model-driven architectures to provide modern, scalable solutions to the challenges faced by utilities in the smart-grid enabled world.

University of Cambridge Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG)
The Cambridge EPRG research team have broad expertise in economics, technology policy and political science. Core research discipline is economics, within a framework that encourages collaboration between experts from different academic traditions, drawing on insights from engineering, political science and law. Through publications and via the Energy Policy Forum (EPF), the group offers rigorous independent research output that informs public and private sector decision making in the electricity and energy industry.

Hydro Ottawa Holding Inc
Hydro Ottawa is wholly-owned by the City of Ottawa and governed by an independent Board of Directors appointed by its shareholder. The company’s core businesses are electricity distribution, renewable energy generation and energy conservation and management services. Hydro Ottawa has over 1,116 square kilometres of service area with a customer base over 331,000.

Power Forward Challenge

MERLIN is part of the Power Forward Challenge, a joint UK/Canada government funded project. The aim of the challenge is to share technological innovations between the two countries in order to accelerate the development and implementation of smart technologies within the energy industry.

Project Outcomes

Advancing Power Systems Analysis
MERLIN has developed Opus One’s Power Systems Analysis tool, so it can be used by UK Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). We have developed the tool to include cost benefit analysis (CBA) functionality that follows Energy Networks Association (ENA) guidelines. We have included additional functionality proposed by the University of Cambridge, that values the societal costs of utilising flexible services and assists with investment decision making. This integration allows Network Planners to compare both the physics and economic impact of traditional reinforcement and flexible service investment in a single tool.

Improving Market Access to Flexible Service Providers
MERLIN has developed Opus One’s Grid OS Transactive Energy (TE) tool, so it can be used by UK DNOs. The tool has been developed to test use cases developed by the SSEN Transition Project ( The tool has also been trialed by flexible service providers from the Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO) project ( This has introduced SSEN and flexible service providers to day-ahead and intra-day market operations and the feedback has been used to help with further development and integration of the tool into SSEN business as usual (BaU) processes.

Automating Network Models
MERLIN has utilised the Open Grid Systems CIMphony tool to bring together a huge amount of network data from various sources into a single tool. The work done here has demonstrated that modelling tasks that take up to a week to complete can now be done at the click of a button. This is an extremely significant step forward, as models can be created and shared instantaneously both within SSEN and to outside organisations.