UK Power Networks
Image: UKPN

UK Power Networks has unveiled a £50 million ($65.7 million) funding package for flexibility covering more than 130 sites in its largest-ever open tender.

The UK 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. Contracts are scheduled for completion by the end of February 2021 with the solutions delivered thereafter.

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This follows the company’s April 2020 tender, which included the first low voltage flexibility service. In the £14 million ($18.3 million) tender, contracts were awarded with 16 providers for 123MW of flexibility in 42 high voltage zones and 15 low voltage zones out of the 55 high voltage and 60 low voltage zones on offer.

Flexibility providers in that round include renewable energy plants, commercial battery operators, heat pumps and virtual power plants backed by spare capacity in domestic batteries and electric vehicles.

“We are forging ahead with a flexibility market that is open, transparent and accessible,” says Sotiris Georgiopoulos, head of smart grid development at UK Power Networks.

“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.”

These latest opportunities cover all three of UK Power Networks’ licence areas in London and the southeast 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.

The minimum capacity requirements are 50kW for the high voltage zones and 10kW for the low voltage zones, both sustainable for 30 minutes. Contracts can run from one up to seven years.

UK Power Networks’ flexibility call is published on the Piclo marketplace.