A plan to unlock a gigawatt of peak flexible power resource in London by 2050 is underway.
The GLA-backed Flex London project forms part of the Mayor’s plan to make the capital a zero carbon city.
The authority, plus project partners, is bringing together public and private sector organisations that have the potential to provide flexible power with solutions providers that can help them unlock it.
A number of projects are in line to be taken forward via an initial ‘sprint challenge’ next year – but Flex London is calling for more people to come forward before the end of 2018.
The project is aligned with UK Power Networks’ plans to procure flexibility to help balance its network, so businesses that come forward may find themselves with a contracted source of revenue sooner rather than later.
Through mapping and research work undertaken by The Carbon Trust and aggregator Open Energi, the Flex London project found that even companies with a high potential for flexibility were not making the most of it.
Barriers include complexity; that rewards are perceived as not sufficiently attractive for the effort required; and that aggregators are too focused on their own technology and needs, rather than those of the customer.
Flex London brought together some of those end-user organisations with solutions providers to help solve that disconnect – and start a matchmaking process.
New business models
As well as matchmaking energy users with flex solutions providers, the aim is to bring together end-users with similar needs that may benefit from shared resources, such as EV charging infrastructure or battery storage.
That approach could lead to new business models – shared-storage-as-a-service between two hospitals for example – that deliver flexibility that otherwise might not stack up for individual organisations.
Those involved so far include Islington and Merton councils, South Western Railway, Premier Inn, Liberty Global, Go Ahead London and Centrica, among others.
Energy Unlocked is helping to co-ordinate the project. Founder and CEO, Molly Webb, urged other businesses in the capital to come forward.
“There’s absolutely still time to get involved. We are very open to others coming in and it has relevance to any site in London that uses energy,” she said.
The plan is to work through projects and determine those that are viable in July, which would align with UKPN’s flex procurement programme.
By unlocking flexibility at lowest cost, the aim is to reduce bills for Londoners while helping to deliver decarbonisation and air quality goals, said Webb.
“We want to ensure London gets the value [currently locked away in unused flexibility],” said Webb. “It is about improving the efficiency of the system. Flexibility has been shown in numerous models to deliver the lowest cost decarbonisation resource – which means directly the lowest cost to consumers.”
See details at flexlondon.org