Western Power Distribution will use the Piclo local flexibility platform in a bid to attract more businesses to help it manage local constraints.
WPD and other distribution network operators have committed to buying flexibility – power from small generators, batteries and load forms of demand-side response – where it is more cost effective than traditional network reinforcement.
WPD has its own platform, Flexible Power, but will use the Piclo Flex marketplace to help attract a wider number of potential providers that can deliver flexibility at specific locations requiring constraint management. The DNO is looking for 184MW of flexible capacity across 17 constraint management zones (CMZs) from the Isles of Scilly to Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire.
The difficulty it faces is finding that amount of flexibility within specific postcodes – a key market challenge that Piclo hopes to address.
Piclo says 200 flex providers, with some 4.5GW of distributed assets, have registered on its platform. The company has urged more providers to enter asset details so that they can participate in relevant auctions and tenders – and receive automatic notification if their assets are in the right places.
Under the deal with WPD, provider’s data will be passed to the DNO, which will then engage them directly through Flexible Power’s procurement process.
“This is a significant milestone for Piclo and evolution of flexibility markets,” said James Johnston, Piclo CEO and co-founder. He added that half of the GB network operators have now committed to work with Piclo on a commercial basis.
WPD network strategy manager, Ben Godfrey, said the DNO is keen to boost visibility of its requirements to all potential providers and that the collaboration will “allow providers of demand side response services to have multiple routes to participation and access wider markets”.
While DNOs have committed to considering flexibility, their challenge is finding available assets in the right places.
Electricity North West, for example, hoped to procure 1.8MW for deliver this winter, but didn’t get the responses it required from flex providers.
Meanwhile, DNOs that have conducted successful tenders, such as UK Power Networks, which has contracted 18MW to date, have outlined appetite and budget for significantly more flexibility were it available in the precise locations required.
Western Power Distribution is also working with Centrica’s Local Energy Market trial in Cornwall to gauge how local flex services can boost visibility and enable providers to sell to multiple parties.
The Energyst is surveying companies that could or do provide flexibility via generation and load assets for our annual DSR report. Please tell us what you do and whether it is working out via this short survey.