UK network operators collaborate on flexibility


Flexibility is to be procured from a common platform by four UK distribution network operators.

Four UK distribution network operators (DNOs) are joining forces to provide providers with a direct path to participate in flexibility on multiple networks.

The four DNOs are Western Power Distribution, SP Energy Networks, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and Northern Powergrid. Going forward they will signpost and operate their flexibility requirements on the ‘Flexible Power’ platform.

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The move is a direct response to customer feedback calling for a simpler way to engage in the distribution flexibility services market, according to a statement. It should help streamline the process for flexibility providers and make interfacing with DNOs simpler and easier by avoiding the complexities and resource intensity associated with liaising with each individually.

Flex providers will be able to view flexibility locations, requirement data, procurement notices and documentation published by all four DNOs on a single, joint website. Once contracted, providers will be given access to the joint Flexible Power portal where they will be able to declare their flexible assets’ availability, receive dispatch signals and view performance and settlement reports.

Flexible Power was developed by Western Power Distribution for its flexibility procurement in 2017.

The DNOs intend to work in partnership to further develop the Flexible Power brand and develop the portal functionality to enable interface capability with other flexibility platforms so wider market participation options can increasingly be made available to providers.

“This marks a huge step forward towards convergence within distribution system operations and should simplify the journey for flexibility service providers,” says Graham Halladay, Western Power Distribution’s operations director. “I hope to see the increased coverage of regions using Flexible Power open up many more opportunities to our existing providers.”

With the need for collaboration within and between distribution and transmission operators, more such shared platforms can be expected to emerge in the future.