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Lightsource Labs signs first commercial partnerships with UKPN and WPD

Image: Lightsource Labs.

Image: Lightsource Labs.

Lightsource Labs has announced its first commercial partnerships with network operators, signing contracts to deliver local flexibility with UK Power Networks (UKPN) and Western Power Distribution (WPD).

The company will use its energy management software dubbed Tribe to provide 1.8MW of flexibility across 20 UKPN zones in and around London from 2021 to 2028. It will also provide 15kW of flexibility to three constrained WPD zones in Coventry, Witheridge and Ledbury from 2021 to 2022.

Tribe connects generation and storage asset within properties such as solar PV, batteries and electric vehicle charge points. Then its AI technology can optimise these assets to reduce peak demand, helping to ensure there is enough capacity on the network. These systems will be aggregated into Lightsource Labs’ Virtual Power Plant (VPP) and respond to signals dispatched by both network operators.

Benjamin Kott, the company’s CEO – who joined the digital innovation arm of solar company Lightsource BP just over a year ago now – said the contracts were “a breakthrough moment for Lightsource Labs”.

“While our technology is designed to optimise assets to maximise solar self-consumption within the property to reduce energy bills, there’s clearly significant demand side response value it can provide distribution network operators (DNOs)and other utility partners outside the home."

Lightsource Labs is set to install Tribe alongside new and existing energy assets across UKPN’s zones from May, and will be working with channel partners on the rollout. It expects the first services to be provided to the DNO in November.

Across WPD’s zones, the company is set to use its existing fleet of energy assets to deliver flexibility from July.

There is a growing need for flexibility services in the UK, as total electricity demand is set to grow over the next decade as electrification is increasingly lent on as a path to decarbonisation. Both UKPN and WPD are taking a Flexibility First approach, wherein they look to smooth demand peaks through technology and flexibility providers ahead of network reinforcements and expansion.

“As we continue to connect more generation and low carbon technologies onto our network and manage increases in electricity demand due to the take up in electric vehicles and heating, the procurement of demand-side flexibility services from providers such as Lightsource Labs are key to supporting our effective operation of the electricity distribution system,” said Helen Sawdon, Flexible Power commercial officer at WPD.

The DNO has now contracted up to 456.5MW of flexibility across 56 constraint locations, announcing last week it had secured 16.7MW across three contracts. This included agreements with battery storage company Zenobe Energy and Cynon Power along with Lightsource Labs.

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