Flexible Power

Delivering Value from local flexibility

Simple services to help the local network operator

Flexible Power was created by Western Power Distribution to help market and procure demand side solutions for network constraints. Previous work in the area had shown that participants need simple services which fit within the existing market to avoid unnecessary competition with other programs and be able to offer services at reasonable prices. As such Flexible Power created a weekly opt-in process for the services. By declaring requirements ahead of other services and reducing exclusivity requirements, Flexible Power can reduce the risk of loss of opportunity costs for participants and increase unit rates. Participants can be available for the less frequent but higher value network led events, whilst still being able to participate in wider ancillary services.
Three products were created to cover the various requirements of a DNO. These are summarized in the table below. These are designed to align with existing market capabilities to facilitate participation.

Participants interact with Flexible Power via a state of the art customer portal that enables them to declare whatever capacity they wish and continue to adjust this up until it is automatically submitted at midnight on Wednesday with the result of this submission being fed back via the portal by midday on a Thursday. The portal also serves as the mechanism through which performance reports, payments statements and invoices for the self-billing system are processed. Dispatch and metering signals are sent via API. The key to the service proposition to participants has been to automate as much as possible to avoid placing any operational burden on participants and keep the requirements from them as simple as possible.

Midlands trial

To test the process and services and trial is being run in the midlands along the M1-M40 corridor. The initial Expression of Interest prompted over 120MW of responses over 69 sites. 12 of the 14 proposed zones have been taken forward to full procurement.
The zones are now live with new participants being added over the trial duration. The trial will run until March 2019 with the associated learning being fed into Western Power’s plans for flexibility as well the Energy Network’s Open Networks project.

Next Steps

“We are now building on the learning generated and rolling services out to another 13 zones”

Following the Midlands trial, Flexible Power took 18 zones to market of which 13 will be operational 28/10/2018. These are spread across Western Power Distributions license areas and are looking to increase network operability. Full details can be found at www.flexiblepower.co.uk 

The pace of change in the industry is an exciting challenge, and one that compels whole industry collaboration. As we transition into a low carbon and digitised world, demand side flexibility has an increasingly important role. Electricity system needs are evolving, at both a transmission and distribution level, and we need additional sources of flexibility to meet these needs – from an increasingly diverse range of technologies.

Power Responsive was launched in 2015 by National Grid, with the ambition of supporting the growth of demand side participation in GB electricity markets. Now in its fourth year, priorities for the programme include continued awareness raising among
I&C customers, building confidence in flexibility opportunities, and supporting the evolution of flexibility markets.

If your business has the flexibility to increase, decrease, or shift its electricity use, then the power is in your hands to take full advantage.