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UK DNOs collaborate to deliver Flexible Power

Four UK distribution network operators have joined forces for the first time to provide flexibility providers with a direct path to participate in flexibility on multiple networks.

Western Power Distribution, SP Energy Networks, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and Northern Powergrid have announced they are collaborating on ‘Flexible Power’ to signpost and operate all of their flexibility requirements.

The move is a direct response to customer feedback calling for a simpler way to engage in the distribution flexibility services market. The collaboration will help streamline the process for flexibility providers and make interfacing with DNOs simpler and easier by avoiding the complexities and resource intensity associated with liaising with numerous network operators.

For the first time ever flex providers will be able to view flexibility locations, requirement data, procurement notices and documentation published by all four DNOs on a single, joint website.

Once contracted, providers will be given access to the joint Flexible Power Portal where they will be able to declare their flexible assets’ availability, receive dispatch signals and view performance and settlement reports.

The DNOs intend to work in partnership to further develop the Flexible Power brand and develop the portal functionality to enable interface capability with other flexibility platforms so wider market participation options can increasingly be made available to providers.

Graham Halladay, Western Power Distribution’s Operations Director, said: “This marks a huge step forward towards convergence within distribution system operations and should simplify the journey for flexibility service providers. I hope to see the increased coverage of regions using Flexible Power open up many more opportunities to our existing providers.

“WPD initially created and trialled Flexible Power with funding from Ofgem’s NIA incentive and I’m incredibly proud to see the value of this funding increase through the adoption of Flexible Power by other UK DNOs.”

Stewart Reid, Head of Future Networks for Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, said: “Flexibility will help manage the transition to net zero in a smart and cost-effective manner which is why we are committed to flexibility first. Our current portfolio includes contracts worth 6MW that were placed on the Isle of Islay earlier this year, which have already had the carbon reduction equivalent of powering 500,000 homes for a week.

“As the energy system continues to change it is imperative that opportunities for engagement are accessible for the communities we serve. Flexible Power will help support customers’ journeys towards becoming flexibility providers, which not only benefits the individual but the whole system.

“I am proud that DNOs are working together to make the route to participation as simple and cost effective as possible.”

Graham Campbell, Head of DSO at SP Energy Networks said: “Our electricity networks are fundamental to helping the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments achieve their ambitious Net Zero carbon targets and stimulating the green economic recovery in the UK. Smart and flexible networks are necessary to ensure our customers continue to receive a secure and reliable power supply whilst being able to take full advantage of low carbon technologies and the flexibility they provide.

“The flexibility market across the UK continues to develop at pace and is pivotal to the cleaner, greener future. We know that in any emerging market, it can be tough to navigate through the challenges, so that’s why I’m delighted to join forces with the other UK DNOs to launch Flexible Power to help streamline the process for providers. This new ‘one stop shop’ will lower the barriers for market participants and help more providers take part by giving them easy access to consistent information on DNO flexibility needs across the UK from one platform.”

Jim Cardwell, Northern Powergrid’s Head of Policy Development, said: “We’re committed to rolling out customer flexibility across our network in way that delivers the best service at the lowest cost for our customers and supports the delivery of net zero.

“The collaborative use of the Flexible Power system delivers for customers who’ve been asking for greater unification across DNOs. This is an industry first and a fundamental step change in how network businesses will operate flexibility. It will offer customers with assets connected across multiple networks a much simpler and single interface and this will help accelerate the roll out of flexibility across the entire UK energy system.”

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  • DSO/Smart Networks