The Energy Networks Association (ENA) published Our Six Steps for Delivering Flexibility Services on 20 June, outlining how grid operators will look to deliver “a smarter, more flexible energy system.”
Through utilising smart technologies, consumers, businesses and local communities will gain increased control and choice over their electricity use and allow further opportunities to be explored across the energy spectrum. Expansion of network capacity across the grid as a result of the increased deployment of renewable energy is also being explored, where the adoption of battery storage would support the flow of electricity in several directions.
GB’s six distribution network operators (DNOs), independent DNOs (both electricity and gas), and National Grid ESO have all agreed to the six principles of:
- championing a level playing field
- ensuring visibility and accessibility
- conducting procurement in an open and transparent manner
- providing clarity on the dispatch of services
- providing regular, consistent and transparent reporting, and
- delivering whole energy system outcomes.
The ENA said that the plan would help the UK achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Chief executive David Smith said: “Expanding local energy markets will bring big economic and environmental benefits and continue to deliver the world-class energy system. These steps further highlight the networks’ commitment to finding innovative, customer-led market solutions to decarbonise the grid and drive down costs.” He continued: “Boosting grid capacity will see more energy from cleaner sources. These steps will lay the foundations of an Internet of Energy that maximises the potential of new smart technologies, for the benefit of all.”
Following the announcement, Head of Policy at the REA Frank Gordon said that clarity will be key in the transition to net zero emissions, and that the ENA’s plan notably covers how network operators will run flexibility markets to support the growth of the UK energy storage market.
Such steps will also highlight how the ENA will procure and use flexibility services to maximise benefits to households, businesses and communities, and act as the foundation for enabling flexibility markets.
Several case studies were outlined to highlight how operators are looking to drive the ENA’s principles:
- UK Power Networks’ ‘Flexibility Roadmap’, which has committed to a ‘flexibility first’ approach
- Northern Powergrid’s ‘Activating Community Energy’ initiative, leading to a reduction in domestic electricity consumption by up to 11%
- Western Power Distribution’s ‘Flexible Power’ initiative, encouraging customers to alter electricity usage during peak times
- Scottish Power Energy Networks’ FUSION project
- Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ and Frontier Economics’ plan to devise a method by which traditional network reinforcements are compared with flexibility services solutions, and
- Electricity North West’s results of Requests of Proposals for flexibility services.
National Grid’s Electricity Transmission and Energy System Operator factions are also applying ‘whole systems thinking’ and working to transition some of GB’s hardest-to-decarbonise areas.
The ENA has set out how grid operators will deliver demand-side flexibility and develop new products and services in accordance with the 2050 net zero emissions target. Following the release, further feedback will be received through its Open Networks flexibility consultation later this month.
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