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Wider Access: BM sees annual increase in smaller participants

Joe Camish Analyst

In recent years National Grid ESO’s Wider Access programme has rolled out several measures to support the entry of smaller and non-traditional participants into the Balancing Mechanism (BM). This 'Chart of the week' looks at the level of new entry into the BM over the past year. Specifically, it looks at new entry from smaller providers across battery storage, gas reciprocating engines and aggregated units, with these technology types being increasing used by the ESO to balance the system. Figure 1 presents the number of units active in the BM—defined as having had any volumes accepted to date—from these technology types, along with the total capacity of such units. We can see that year-on-year all three technology types have observed notable levels of new entry, having gained access to the BM and had volumes accepted by the ESO. The chart shows that the greatest new entrant growth over the past year has come from aggregated units, which has more than doubled from January 2020 levels of 20 to 45 units in January 2021. As a result, total active capacity from aggregated units has risen 87.4% to 1.7GW. It should be noted that aggregated units are made up of multiple sites, and may include gas reciprocating engines and battery storage technologies. A similar trend has been seen for gas reciprocating engines, with 19 units now having been active in the BM, up from 9 the previous year. This has led to a significant increase in active capacity, leaping 143.4% to total 455MW. On the ...

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