Published by Energy Networks Association (ENA), Our Six Steps for Delivering Flexibility Services sets out exactly how grid operators will run new ‘flexibility markets’ across the country. These markets will use the latest smart energy technologies in our homes, businesses and communities to boost network capacity in Britain’s electricity grid for connecting renewable energy projects like wind or solar farms, electric vehicle charging points and heat pumps for decarbonised heating.
With fully developed markets, examples of how technologies might be used by households and businesses to help increase the capacity of the grid include:
- Households charging their electric vehicles at off-peak times or when it is sunniest, whilst other households’ domestic solar panels are generating electricity.
- Businesses striking demand-side response agreements to adjust their electricity use at the times of day when they least need it, helping reduce the need and cost of building new infrastructure.
- Using battery storage to help network operators proactively manage a rapidly changing electricity grid where electricity now flows in many different directions, rather than in just one as it has done in the past.
Our Six Steps for Delivering Flexibility Services outlines how these markets will work in practice. It ensures that they are open and transparent for all to participate in, creating new opportunities and a level playing field for energy suppliers, aggregators and customers to procure and deliver clean energy. The announcement builds on the Flexibility Commitment made by grid operators in December 2018, to help boost the use of smart energy technologies to reduce the need for building new electricity grid infrastructure. Local flexibility markets using new and innovative technologies have been growing steadily as the uptake of smart energy technology increases in people’s homes and businesses.
As smart technologies for energy generation and storage have improved, and local clean energy markets have grown, the UK has emerged as a world leader of ‘flexibility services’ which could save bill payers up to £8 billion a year by 2030, according to the National Infrastructure Commission, as well as opening new competitive markets for flexibility. Britain’s energy networks have been responsible for connecting record levels renewable energy projects in recent years that have seen them generate a third of electricity in the country in 2018. Under ENA’s Open Networks Project, networks are working together to deliver the smart grid and harmonise these local energy markets across Great Britain. The learn-by-doing approach of the project has fed into the development of Our Six Steps for Delivering Flexibility Services, but also allows the project to further understand best practice and ensure the nationwide benefits are delivered to all Britain’s homes and businesses.
Commenting, David Smith, Chief Executive of ENA, says:
“With the 2050 Net Zero target being put into law, it’s more important than ever to get the fundamentals of our new energy system right. The commitment made by the networks today sets out the role that smart technology in people’s homes, businesses and communities can play in building a grid that can help deliver that target.
“Expanding local energy markets will bring big economic and environmental benefits, and continue to deliver the world class energy system we rely on every day. These steps further highlight the networks’ commitment to finding innovative, customer-led market solutions to decarbonise the grid and drive down costs.
“Boosting grid capacity will see more energy from cleaner sources. These steps will lay the foundations of an Internet of Energy that maximises the potential of new smart technologies, for the benefit of all.”