UK Power Networks gives major boost to flexible renewable energy

UK Power Networks is calling on energy resources to offer their services to support the distribution network during periods of high electricity demand. Until now, such contracts were used to support the national power system, and rarely on the local network.

The new flexibility services contracts are expected to have three key benefits:

  • A new way for electricity generators, storage, major consumption users and aggregators to offer their resource to create additional income
  • More efficient use of the existing network infrastructure and connected resources will mean lower electricity distribution costs for customers
  • Help ensure an even more resilient electricity supply

The company, which delivers electricity to more than eight million homes and businesses, is inviting expressions of interest from distributed energy operators capable of increasing generation or reducing consumption on request at the 10 locations across the network it has identified with a potential need.

The flexibility programme is a major step towards becoming a Distribution System Operator (DSO), which involves transitioning from a passive network manager to one providing active, market-focused services for customers. UK Power Networks consulted with market participants on the design of the flexibility services in July 2017, aiming to create a product that enables all technologies to participate.

UK Power Networks Director of Asset Management, Barry Hatton, said that the service underlined how UK Power Networks was leading the way in preparing distribution networks for the future.

He said: “The way we generate, distribute and consume electricity is changing and we are making sure that UK Power Networks is in a great place to make the most of the opportunities this transformation offers.

“Flexibility shows that we are not just talking about what the future holds for distribution networks, but we are delivering on it. This important new service offers a new route to market for distributed energy resources and we are looking forward to hearing expressions of interest from the market.

“In our recently launched Future Smart strategy, using customer flexibility is identified as one of our five key DSO strategic priorities.”

From August 15 until September 8, companies operating demand side response, distributed generation, electricity storage and aggregator companies can express their interest by completing the online questionnaire. The network locations and the questionnaire are available on the UK Power Networks website at http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/internet/en/have-your-say/listening-to-our-connections-customers/flexibility-services.HTML.

After receiving expressions of interest, UK Power Networks will determine which locations have enough flexible resources to meet its needs; it then plans to run a tender to contract for flexibility services to start as early as January 2018. Full details of the payment schedule will be released when the tender process begins in autumn this year. Follow on tenders will be run on a regular basis.

To submit an expression of interest in taking part in flexibility services visit http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/internet/en/have-your-say/listening-to-our-connections-customers/flexibility-services.HTML