UK Power Networks has signalled its commitment to the growing Flexibility market by unveiling a funding package of £50million covering more than 130 sites in its largest-ever open tender.
The electricity network operator is seeking a total of 250MW of flexible capacity and is offering its first ever extra high voltage sites for tender – potentially opening the market to a host of new entrants.
The latest tender round offers contracts up to 2028, covering system needs that will arise during the next electricity network price control period from 2023 – 2028. Pre-qualification for the new tender round closes on December 8, with the tender competition open from January 11-20, 2021. This follows the success of the company’s April 2020 tender, which it signed contracts for the world’s first ever low voltage flexibility service.
Flexibility is a fast-growing new market that enables low carbon distributed energy resources, such as batteries and demand side response, to provide additional capacity to help manage the network at peak times.
By managing the output of these ‘distributed energy resources’, instead of building new substations and laying more cables in the traditional way, UK Power Networks is reducing costs for consumers. Flexibility proposals were assessed to ensure they are benefitting consumers by offering lower costs in comparison to the traditional approach of building new assets.
The latest opportunities cover all three of UK Power Networks’ three licence areas in London and the South East and East of England. A number of different products are available to reflect the needs of different market participants. Contracts range from traditional contracts offering the certainty of a set fee for a set service to more flexible contracts that allow providers to make a decision about participating in the market closer to real-time.
Sotiris Georgiopoulos, head of smart grid development at UK Power Networks, said: “We are forging ahead with a flexibility market that is open, transparent and accessible. We are now opening more sites backed by more funding than ever before, and for the first ever time in the UK at every level from low voltage to extra high voltage.
“A huge part of our success so far has been because we have co-designed the market with the very people participating in it, which has led to a host of innovations such as contracts ranging from six months to seven years in length, and minimum volumes of just 10kW to participate. “