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'Important milestone': Limejump takes first aggregated unit into Balancing Mechanism using Virtual Power Plant

Image: National Grid

Image: National Grid

Limejump has been admitted into the Balancing Mechanism (BM) using its Virtual Power Plant (VPP), laying claim to being the first to use an aggregated BM unit (BMU) in the market.

On Friday National Grid outlined its vision for the future of the BM, which held a particular focus on widening access to the BM for smaller flexibility providers. While this included allowing BMUs as small as 1MW to enter, developing new routes to market for aggregators without a supplier licence were also proposed for as early as April 2019.

While Limejump received its electricity supply license in 2015 and could therefore have accessed the BM, existing Grid Code requirements on the submission of data do not allow the aggregation at Grid Supply Point Group (GSP) level and require submission of data at the GSP level.

While changes to this rule are already being considered via Grid Code modification GC0097, Limejump has been granted derogation from its obligations to comply with existing code structures on 9 July and will submit the required data at GSP Group level.

Ofgem granted this ‘dispensation’ as Limejump has called it to allow National Grid to consider the impact of allowing data to be submitted in this way before a decision on GC0097 is made.

Limejump now has three aggregated units active in the BM, with a total of 178MW ready to participate across six BMUs.

“With [six] BMUs registered, we expect to operate up to 600MW+ as the business develops and grows,” a spokesperson told Current±.

As a condition of the derogation, Limejump will submit an Aggregator Impact Matrix (AIM) in advance of any formal obligation to ensure the control room can understand the impact of the BMU on the system, should it be called upon.

Limejump, which counts renewable generation sites, 150MW of batteries and demand response assets within its managed portfolio, says its entry into the BM offers the first opportunity for such energy resources to compete with the big six energy suppliers and other large power plants in the £1 billion a year market.

Chief executive Erik Nygard said: “Limejump’s entry into the Balancing Mechanism is another step in our efforts to ‘disrupt’ the conventional operations of the UK energy market. This move means that a farmer with a solar installation or a supermarket with excess energy from its cooling units will be on the same footing as a giant power station.

“Just as importantly, our move increases competition, enabling a cleaner, more sustainable energy future that benefits both the environment and the end consumer.”

 Image: Limejump.
Erik Nygard, chief executive at Limejump. Image: Limejump.

The company credits its VPP technology platform for making its BM entry possible, using big data analytics, trading ability and machine learning to connect distributed storage or generation assets. Connecting to a communication platform developed by Siemens, Limejump says it is able to provide National Grid with a single, flexible energy source that helps balance the energy system.

Nygard continued: “This is an important milestone in opening up the UK energy market. We have shown how sustainable, dynamic and distributed assets can power the UK as consistently and efficiently as large power plants.

“The support we have received from National Grid has made this next step possible and ensures distributed asset values can be maximised in multiple markets.”

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