UK Power Networks and Open Utility to trial local flexibility platform

UKPN hopes local flexibility trading can solve local network issues
UKPN hopes local flexibility trading can solve local network issues

UK Power Networks will work with energy platform provider Open Utility on a local flexibility trial.

The two aim to simplify the procurement and bidding process for firms selling flexibility to the network operator so that it can balance the local grid. 

The trial with Open Utility will “make it quicker, easier and cheaper for our customers to supply their services to the market”, said UK Power Networks head of innovation, Ian Cameron.

UK Power Networks has already started to tender for local flexibility to manage constraint issues in Suffolk, London and the South East, with services going live this month.

The firm, which is transitioning to a distribution system operator (DSO), believes a smarter grid approach will enable greater volumes of decentralised generation and storage across its network at a lower cost than traditional network reinforcement.

However, that means running its assets closer to their limits, which in turn requires greater controls and flexibility. 

By matching local flexibility assets with local constraint issues and balancing at a local level, DSOs can more efficiently solve those problems with less risk of creating knock-on issues in other network areas.

The flexibility marketplace trial will run throughout 2018. The service is planned to launch in spring 2018, when flexibility providers will be able to register their assets and start to participate in local tenders.

Open Utility CEO, James Johnston, said signing up the firm’s first distribution network operator was a “hugely important milestone” for the company.

Open Utility is also involved in peer-to-peer energy trading trials with Innogy-owned Essent in the Netherlands, plus a trial with Italian renewables generator and energy supplier ERG. It has also worked with Good Energy in the UK.

Related stories:

Local grids for local people

UK Power Networks outlines smart grid plans

UK Power Networks tenders for 35MW of flexibility to go live January

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