Kiwi Power has provided its virtual power plant (VPP) software to Western Power Distribution’s Flexible Power project with further expansion ambitions.
Speaking to Current±, Stephan Marty, chief commercial officer at Kiwi Power, described it as the “engine” behind Flexible Power, which allows distribution network operators (DNOs) to procure flexibility from a singular site in a bid to simplify the process for flexibility providers.
There are currently four DNOs signed up, with Marty stating that this is a “starting point” but adding that “there's still a few outstanding, so we'll see how that will work out”.
For now, it covers “good ground” in the UK, although Kiwi’s ambitions are not limited to the UK, with Marty adding “we're really looking for more people to join, and to bring that solution and help out other distribution network operators around Europe and North America as well”.
There is also the possibility for the DNOs to tender for more services using the platform in the future if they so desire, with Marty suggesting that while “this is thinking far ahead” one such service could be tendering for reactive power.
“The more and more requirements they have, the more they could put onto this solution and tender for more than just the services that they're using at the moment”.
Kiwi began working with WPD on the Flexible Power project in 2017, with the project initially being funded using Network Innovation Allowance funding. Kiwi was then chosen to be the provider when the four DNOs joined due to it having already built the platform for WPD.
Flexible Power is split into two sections: a website detailing what requirements there are in what DNO zones and what the prices are, with bids able to be submitted, and a portal. Once a bid is accepted, the flexibility provider is granted access to the Flexible Power portal, where they can set availabilities and their schedule.
As part of the portal, there is a dispatch API that can be used either through an aggregator or directly and once a dispatch is received. There are also performance reports and settlement reports that can be downloaded from the portal.
It is hoped that by having a single platform for DNO flexibility procurement, it will simplify the process and reduce costs as well as enable more distributed energy resources (DERs) to come onto the grid as the platform allows for flexibility to be managed locally.
“This is really a big move for distributed energy resource management, for the green economy and for the DNOs as well,” Marty said.