New focus on flexibility markets, regulatory sandboxes for smart grids


The International Smart Grids Action Network (ISGAN) has launched new initiatives on the development of flexibility markets and regulatory sandboxes.

The flexibility markets initiative is being advanced in the form of an ‘Annex’, or short-term research programme normally up to 5 years, in IEA speak, in this cases ISGAN’s ninth.

The focus is on all aspects of market design for power system flexibility, drawing on international collaboration as a tool for gaining insights and understanding on the issues across the spectrum of market contexts.

Related articles:
Flexibility market models to be tested by GB network operator
Smart meter rollouts in dire need of regulatory support – study

The scope includes the whole range of market timescales, from long term investment signals to second-to-second balancing and response; the whole physical system from large centralised generation to behind-the-meter sources of flexibility within domestic settings; all the sources of value that flexibility could capture; and aspects of the market that go beyond the trading rules such as consumer support or how obligations are understood and checked.

To kickstart the initiative, the first three tasks are on flexibility characteristics, interoperable markets and consumer focused flexibility.

The operating agent is Dr Iliana Cardenes, energy system flexibility innovation lead in the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

The initiative on regulatory sandboxes is proposed to deepen learning and international exchange on the topic following an earlier 2019 project investigating sandbox initiatives that have been implemented.

Regulatory sandboxes in essence are designed to provide an experimental environment for testing of new technologies that would otherwise be hampered by barriers such as current regulation or market structures. As such, they have been and are key in advancing smart grid and other innovations in the sector.

The new initiative aims to advance policy development on regulatory sandboxes with the intention to deliver fresh insights and policy messages for the advancement of smart grid solutions to the 12th Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in May 2021.

The convenor of the regulatory sandbox project team is Magnus Olofsson, Director of the Swedish Energy Institute.

ISGAN is an IEA technology collaboration programme aimed to advance smart grids at the ministerial level.