555MW of flexibility bids accepted in our latest tender

26/11/2021

We have accepted bids of 555MW of flexibility services following our spring round of tendering, and will build on this success with a second flexibility tender this year in a bid to drive innovation forward in the industry. 

We are developing smarter, more flexible network solutions to meet the evolving needs of our customers and drive towards ambitious Net Zero emissions targets. Part of this evolution is the use of flexibilty services, which can reduce or defer the need for traditional reinforcement of the network. Flexibility involves working with customers who can control their electricity demand or how much they generate. This unlocks capacity in the existing infrastructure, meaning greener technologies such as electric vehicles and heating systems can connect to the network quicker. 

In our latest round of tendering we issued a call for flexibility services for the period between 2023 and 2028. In total, 1.4GW of capacity was sought at all voltage levels, with 555MW of bids now being accepted. These bids , in addition to the capacity we have already contracted, could provide over 700MW of flexibility services, which is the equivalent of 100,000 electric vehicles charging on the network. 

In our second tender this year, we are now seeking 110MW of flexibility services for the next three years. This has the potential to enable over 800MW of flexibility services which will help to not only reduce costs for customers, but also mitigate some of the need for traditional reinforcement. 

Gerard Boyd, our Acting Head of DSO, said: "The response to our latest flexibility tender is extremely encouraging, and is a clear sign that the market is becoming more aware of our requirements and the opportunities that flexibility services represent.

"Flexibility will play a major role in the development of a smarter energy network, and I'm proud we're at the forefront of developing this emerging market. We are exploring flexibility as a solution for a range of network challenges, considering it alongside smart solutions and network reinforcement, ultimately selecting the most cost-effective solution for our customers." 

This latest tender activity follows our recent ground-breaking trial across Flintshire in Wales, testing the utilisation of reactive power to solve network constraints. The trial - the first of its kind for a UK DNO - explored the use of low carbon technology connected to the electricity network to generate power to balance the system, and having proven to be such a success, has now set the foundations for us to continue to develop reactive power as a flexible solution. 

We are also continuously exploring markets for flexibility with new and existing customers who are able and willing to control how much they generate or who can control their demand. As part of this, we are working closely with British renewable energy group, Octopus Energy, to develop demand turn-up solutions to help balance the network. This will involve asking domestic customers to shift their energy use to times where there is excess generation in a local area, via pricing and tariff signals. 

Customers interested in providing flexibility services can contact the team via flexibility@spenergynetworks.co.uk 

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