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Northern Powergrid announce ‘UK-first’ e-auction for domestic flexibility

Image: Northern Powergrid.

Image: Northern Powergrid.

Northern Powergrid has announced that it will procure flexibility through an e-auction, in what it says is a UK first.

It will use a Dynamic Purchasing System, and conclude each competition with a reverse Dutch e-auction to procure flexibility from customer led assets.

The scheme is called Restore Flexibility, and is designed to manage the network in the event of unplanned outages. Customers can shift their consumption, or their generation assets can be flexed after receiving instruction from Northern Powergrid in order to balance the grid and avoid outages.

Customers will get paid a set price per MWh that is decided on during the e-auction process.

Northern Powergrid’s commercial development manager Andrew McKenna said: “On the occasion where utilising customer flexibility is inherently cheaper than the counter factual action, we will look to take this action meaning that not only do customers with assets benefit from a new revenue stream, but every single customer benefits financially from the DNO achieving the same outcome through a more cost effective method.”

Jim Cardwell, head of policy development, said the increased flexibility will support decarbonisation as an increasing number of councils the company serves declare a climate emergency.

“Actions like flexibility procurement for network resilience are crucial to this and empower our customers to play a more active role in network management.”

Northern Powergrid announced in January its interest in customers providing network flexibility, starting from winter. As it looks to boost its resilience, it also last month launched a fleet of electric vans with on-board energy storage systems to restore power during power cuts and planned maintenance, replacing current diesel generators.

The company is also looking into gamification, after successful trials earlier this year.

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