More than £50million available for Flexibility in biggest-ever tender

UK Power Networks has signalled its commitment to the 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 – 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. Pre-qualification for the tender round closes on December 8, with the competition open from January 11-20, 2021. This follows the success of the company’s April 2020 tender, when it signed contracts for the worlds first ever low voltage flexibility service.

Flexibility is a fast-growing market, enabling low carbon distributed energy resources, 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, 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 building new assets.

The latest opportunities cover all of UK Power Networks’ three licence areas in London, the South East and East of England. 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, comments: “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 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.

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