Launch of GB's first USEF flexibility market and call for 4.5MW flex services

20/09/2021

We have become the first company to successfully deploy a fully-functioning Universal Smart Energy Framework (USEF) compliant flexibility market in GB. 

The USEF provides the basics for a unified smart energy market and helps to ensure that projects and technologies are connected at the lowest cost. 

The deployment of this local flexibility market was a key objective of Project FUSION, our £5.7million innovation project tasked with pioneering ways to operate the electricity distribution network - a key part of our vision to deliver a better future, quicker for our customers. 

The FUSION trial is now live and operational, with Engie Power Limited and Orange Power Limited ('aggregators') acting on behalf of customers to trade their electricity consumption and generation 'flexibility' in a new digital marketplace. This smarter use of the network results in improved cost-effectiveness, potential for customers to generate additional income by agreeing to be flexible with their energy use and potentially accelerated connections of low carbon technologies. 

As part of the project, we are tendering for 4.5MW of flexibility capacity across Leuchars and St Andrews in Fife. Interested flexibility providers and aggregators should complete the FUSION expression of interest form which will be available on the Project FUSION website

By implementing a flexibility market in GB that adheres to the principles of the USEF framework, we are generating timely and useful learnings that could play a significant role in influencing how the UK reaches its world-leading climate change targets, as well as our own ambitious Distribution System Operator (DSO) transition roadmap. 

The local flexibility market is currently operational in East Fife, Scotland, and is planned to operate at least until the middle of 2023. Our innovation team will publish various interm learning reports over that period, culminating in a final comprehensive close-down report in October 2023. 

Graham Campbell, our Director of Processes and Technology, said: "As the first company to successfully deploy a USEF-compliant flexibility market in GB, we're pioneering fresh learnings to help lay the foundations for a greener and fairer electric future at an international level. 

"Project FUSION enables us to make better use of existing electricity infrastructure by interacting with customers smartly. Learnings from the trial will quantify the benefits and inform the transition towards a more standardised market. This would encourage participation and competition while lowering the costs of flexibility to save our customers money. 

"Thanks to the hard work of our innovation team and proactive engagement with partners, the learnings from Project FUSION will ensure the trial has a meaningful impact in our journey to Net Zero. 

"I'd encourage flexibility providers to come forward with their responses to our new tender in Fife which helps us to identify the level of flexible capacity in the area and where it can benefit the network. This is key to achieving smarter networks and reducing the need for costly reinforcement work, while giving our customers the chance to benefit financially from a low carbon future."

To meet the evolving needs of our customers and play our part in delivering government Net Zero targets, we are developing smarter, more flexible network solutions. These solutions, such as flexibility services, can defer or avoid the need for traditional reinforcement, keep customer bills as low as possible, and help deliver the changes that will significantly reduce our carbon footprint. 

Flexibility involves working with customers who can control their electricity demand or how much they generate. This then helps unlock capacity in the existing infrastructure as low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles and electric heating systems connect to the network. 

Joshua Wong, CEO of Opus One Solutions, said: "We are thrilled to be celebrating the deployment of the FUSION Flexibility Platform with SP Energy Networks. 

"Flexibility markets, such as those supported by GridOS technology, will play a central role in the DSO transition, and the USEF framework trialled as part of FUSION presents a great example of a whole system approach."

The FUSION project is a crucial part of our work on developing flexibility services and compliments our work elsewhere on flexibility markets across our license areas. 

For more information on the project and flexibility tender, please visit the FUSION webpage

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