Demand for DNO flexibility services predicted to gather pace

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Cornwall Insight examines the Energy Network Association’s (ENA) forecast for Distribution Network Operators (DNO) flexibility services procurement over the next 10 years.

These latest forecasts show more than 1.3GW requirement across all services in DNO regions in 2021.

The largest share of the requirement (636MW) is attributed to the Dynamic service which supports the network during fault conditions.

The figures also show the largest forecast procurement to be throughout the WPD region, with nearly 800MW of serviced need out to 2023.

It should be noted that these latest figures have not published requirements for both NPG and SSEN regions. This suggests that these regions are yet to disclose their future needs, or that they have no requirement for these services in the coming years.

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Joe Camish, an analyst at Cornwall Insight, said: “Since 2018, DNOs have been tendering and procuring for various flexibility services to help solve congestion (thermal constraints) in local electricity grids. More recently DNOs have started procuring for additional services to meet other network needs such as voltage and reactive power support.

“To date, providers of these services have typically been made up of battery storage units, demand-side response (commercial and industrial), gas reciprocating engines and EV fleets.

“Procurement of these flexibility services has progressed slowly over the past three years with several tenders concluding undersubscribed by a large amount resulting in outstanding requirement, while some regions are yet to procure any service volumes this year (NPG).

“However, these latest forecasts show that the requirement for these services is starting to gather pace as DNOs seek to rapidly decarbonise the energy system to meet its net-zero target.”