Western Power Distribution has joined the Piclo flexibility platform. All six distribution network operators (DNOS) have now signed up as trialists.
The platform brings together buyers and sellers of flexibility. Crucially it provides visibility around location of available flexibility. The next step is to become an online marketplace, running local flexibility auctions.
With all DNOs on board, it can create a common platform to access all distribution procured flex in the UK.
Company CEO James Johnston has called for other third parties to make use of the platform and upload their data to grow the market and give buyers, the DNO/DSOs, “a bit of comfort that if they are going to be looking for flex, that it is actually out there and they are not wasting their time”.
Western Power Distribution was one of the early movers in demonstrating how flexible assets, such as distribution connected generation, storage and load forms of demand-side response can be used to help manage network constraints.
It began a flexibility trial in the Midlands last year, which went live in April 2018 and recently extended a call ahead of tenders for the Midlands and South West in a bid to drum up more potential flex providers (what it wants, where, and what it will pay is outlined here).
The company said while 121MW of flexible resource answered the expression of interest for the first trial, and 261MW responded to its summer procurement exercise, the challenge is converting interest into contracts, with strict locational requirements not always understood by potential providers.
“Allowing our flexibility needs to be displayed on Piclo Flex should drive more participation and build upon the visibility already available on our website’s network flexibility map,” said WPD network strategy team manager, Ben Godfrey.
Given the challenges posed to traditional flexibility revenues posed by the suspension of the Capacity Market, network charging regime change, the continued removal of embedded benefits and falling prices in traditional ancillary services, DNOs are likely to become a significant route to market for demand-side response providers.