Energy flexibility

Power generation on the electricity system is increasingly “intermittent” – driven by renewable power that generates when natural resources are available. Traditional fossil fuelled generation is controllable, and historically power has been generated to meet customers demand. As the electricity system increasingly decarbonises, there will need to be a paradigm shift away from controllable power generation to one of flexible demand and facilitation by flexibility tools such as battery storage.

The sources of this flexibility can range from, modifying generation, for example with bulk energy storage, and consumption, for example with smart heating or EV chargers, to minimise demands on the electricity system. New ways to remunerate flexibility, and thereby incentivise energy system users to offer it, are currently in development, and the various markets for flexibility are expected to mature into the 2020s.

Our services in energy flexibility

  • Flexible smarter electricity networks – At this training course our experts will clearly explain the industry-led developments, and using case studies will set out how local distribution network flexibility services can be accessed today and the scale of the opportunity in the future as the frameworks to move towards smarter and more flexible networks beds in.
  • Ipswich Microgrid – We are establishing an innovative project with a range of local partners to test and develop innovative solutions to mitigate network issues encountered by generators and consumers on the Ransomes Industrial Estate. Subsequently these learnings will be deployed in other locations with similar physical characteristics.
  •  Ipswich Flexibility Study – This study, part funded by BEIS, operated in partnership with Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council, is exploring mechanisms to create value from changes in customer behaviour. We modelled local production and demand initially behind the meter to enable testing the feasibility of commercial innovations based on specific assets. We use generation and consumption data that mimics usage by different types of consumers and properties.

Recent insight

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) ranked GB eighth out of nine European electricity markets, in its inaugural Energy Transition Readiness Index. The report, issued on 13 November, ranks flexibility markets across nine Northern European countries, considering the attractiveness of each market for new investors. 

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Software company Piclo released two white papers in September sharing findings from the pilot phase of its Piclo Flex Marketplace trial. The papers, supported by BEIS, explore the future of distributed flexibility procurement as researched through Piclo’s trials with all six of GB’s Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). 

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The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has compiled the flexibility procurement timetables for all distribution network operators (DNOs) in Great Britain. The schedule highlights DNO flexibility procurement between 2018 and 2020. 

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