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Project LEO completes first live energy flexibility trade in new landmark

Project LEO welcomed its first live flexibility trade with an external partner, with further trials set for throughout this year. Image: SSEN.

Project LEO welcomed its first live flexibility trade with an external partner, with further trials set for throughout this year. Image: SSEN.

Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO) has completed its first live flexibility trade with an external partner in what’s been hailed as another landmark for the project.

While flexibility trading has been trialled with project partners before, the new milestone – which saw Project LEO trade flexibility with EV charging provider ev.energy – is the first time the trial has been widened to external participants after opening up to third parties last month.

The trade saw ev.energy respond to a signal from LEO’s TRANSITION trading platform and successfully bid to provide a “demand up” service, helping to balance the network, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) said.

Ev.energy delivered flexibility at key points during the day yesterday with the country’s energy demand fluctuating amidst a record-breaking heatwave.

Yesterday saw the issue of two separate Capacity Market notices by National Grid ESO for the evening peak, with power demand soaring alongside high temperatures.

SSEN said that trading flexibility could allow EV chargepoint operators to help customers benefit from optimising the time at which they charge their vehicles, delivering economic benefits while also helping distribution network operators deploy more local EV charging infrastructure without the need for network reinforcement works.

Melanie Bryce, head of markets and network development at SSEN, said the LEO and TRANSITION projects were now entering a “crucial phase” as the network operator’s theory was put into practice.

“Flexibility trading has the ability to deliver a win-win-win outcome: allowing businesses to take advantage of additional sources of value, giving electricity network operators the ability to balance the local grid cost effectively, and reducing the need for reinforcement,” she said.

The current trial period for flexibility trading is to run until September 2022, offering third parties the chance to earn up to £1,200/MWh for supporting the network. A third trial period will run between November 2022 and February 2023.

Having launched in April 2019, Project LEO includes participants such as SSEN, Piclo, Origami, Nuvve and EDF Energy and comprises EV charging, different energy storage technologies and smart grid capabilities to test the possibilities of similar projects on the UK’s power network.

The project moved into a secondary phase in May 2020 and was last year given the green light to participate in flexibility market trials.

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