Ed’s note: 6+1 ways to unlock flexibility


Last year, the EU Commission raised the climate goals for the European States and proposed a 55% cut in emissions compared to 1990 levels, by 2030. The previous target had been a reduction of 40% by the same year. In order to achieve the climate neutrality and emission reduction goals, we need solutions that will contribute to the flexibility of the energy grid.

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Head of Smart Grid at UK Power Networks, claims in a blog post written for the Electrical Review that “A smarter, more flexible electricity network is key to reaching the (UK) government’s net zero target by 2050”. Moreover, he writes: “As more people opt for low carbon, electric alternatives, the demand on the electricity network will rise and greater capacity will be needed on the network at peak times”.

And there are two ways we can achieve that according to Georgiopoulos, “Either we can create that capacity in the traditional way, by building more infrastructure and putting more cables in the ground, or we can purchase that capacity as a service to smooth out the peaks in electricity demand”. This is what we call flexibility, when by “using data and technology we can harness the power of energy assets from electric vehicles to large-scale industrial heating to support the network”.

Have you read?
Ed’s note: Unlocking flexibility for power and gas
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How do we achieve it in practice? Here are 6 ways suggested by Irena and TenneT.  

  1. Flexibility can be achieved on the demand side by allowing the system operator to control, or provide price signals to, various sources of electricity demand, including power-to-heat, power-to-hydrogen, electric-vehicle charging, smart appliances and industrial demand response.
  2. Flexibility assets such as demand response, storage and flexible generation are needed to complement wind and solar generation if we want the role of conventional generation in flexibility to shrink.
  3. A range of technologies can supply flexibility and the optimum mix will evolve, depending on technology improvement and cost trends.
  4. Substantial investments are required in international interconnection.
  5. Facilitate the aggregation of decentral assets, enabling consumers and market parties to offer their flexibility in all markets.
  6. Further develop the market model and processes for congestion management in cooperation between TSO and DSOs.

Now, if you wish to find out the ‘plus one’ way for unlocking flexibility, as mentioned in the headline of this article, you will have to attend the Energy Markets Week at the Enlit Europe 365 website. And it will not be limited to ‘plus one’ only, I can promise as much. Because, starting today and until the 18th of June, Energy Markets will focus on unlocking flexibility in Europe and around the world.

Have you watched?
Energy Markets Talks: Mark Copley, EFET
Energy Markets Talks: John Ahlberg, Kärnfull Energi

In a week full of live episodes, the need for flexibility will be the key in the discussions about whether the current market design is fit for the purpose and what role industrial energy users will play in the future. Moreover, technologies in trading, the democratisation of European energy markets and the implications for the back office will be discussed, as well as hydrogen as an integral element of Europe’s internal energy market as will be the price drivers for both power and gas.

Lastly, don’t miss the session focusing on the role of industrial energy users in the Energy Markets on the 16th of June. Our own Kelvin Ross, Editor-in-Chief of Power Engineering International, is going to moderate a very interesting panel of experts on the future value of flexibility.

I know I am going to be there. Will you join me?


Areti Ntaradimou
Editor, Smart Energy International

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