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Northern Powergrid issues call for short-medium term flexibility services

The locations in need of flexibility include Leeds, Hull and Sheffield. Image: Northern Powergrid.

The locations in need of flexibility include Leeds, Hull and Sheffield. Image: Northern Powergrid.

Distribution network operator (DNO) Northern Powergrid has identified 19 locations across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire where it plans to procure flexibility services.

Generators, businesses that consume significant amounts of energy and electricity supply aggregators have all been invited to express interest in providing flexibility services, to give early visibility of the areas where the DNO may purchase flexibility in the future.

This in turn allows customers to understand the opportunities to develop a new income stream, Northern Powergrid said.

The call is a stepping stone to Northern Powergrid procuring flexibility services at some or all of the 19 sites through competitive tenders in mid-2022, and again in subsequent years till the middle of the decade.

The locations include Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Scunthorpe, Gainsborough, Bridlington and Knottingley among others. A full list can be seen here.

These 19 locations are where analysis has indicated Northern Powergrid will likely need to take action soon or in the short to medium term.

However, Northern Powergrid is also looking to hear from any customers with the capability to provide controllable dispatchable flexibility anywhere in its wider operating region, as it is possible that there will be other parts of the network where needs will emerge that were previously unforeseen.

The flexibility needs of the 19 locations vary between them, with Gainsborough for example requiring flexibility only in the late afternoon on weekend days in the winter months of December to March. Knottingley, meanwhile, requires flexibility all day, every day, all year round.

“We expect flexibility services to grow and become an increasingly important tool in how we manage the electricity network as the low- carbon transition accelerates with technologies such as electric cars, heat pumps, batteries and renewable generation changing the way our customers generate and use electricity,” Liz Sidebotham, commercial manager for new markets at Northern Powergrid, said.

Last year, the DNO outlined its flexibility-first approach in its RIIO-ED2 business plan, with Northern Powergrid expecting the number electric vehicles (EVs) in its operating region to increase to 941,000 by 2028, the number of heat pumps to grow to 309,000 and generation and storage to hit 7.4GW.

Other DNOs to have recently tendered for flexibility include Western Power Distribution, which tendered for 278MW in January, SP Energy Networks, which accepted 555MW of bids for flexibility in November, and Electricity North West, which issued a call for 259MW of flexibility between 2022-24, also in November.

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