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SSEN signs first Sustain CMZ contract to defer £1.7m in reinforcement costs

CMZ's help SSEN avoid traditional network reinforcement operations by providing additional flexibility. Image: SSEN.

CMZ's help SSEN avoid traditional network reinforcement operations by providing additional flexibility. Image: SSEN.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution has signed a new Sustain service contract to allow it to defer £1.7 million worth of network reinforcement using flexibility.

The network operator uses flexibility services to manage Constraint Managed Zones (CMZs). In a new CMZ across the Bridge of Dun and St Cyrus areas around Montrose, Scotland, there is a high penetration of renewable generators.

To manage this area, SSEN has now signed a Sustain CMZ contract – its first – with a local generator to help balance the network. In doing so, the operator is able to push back network reinforcement by four years, during which time it will be reassessed.

“Flexibility is business-as-usual for SSEN and a vital part of our toolkit that allows us to run a greener, smarter network,” said Gavin Stewart, flexible solution manager for SSEN.

“Since 2015 we have contracted over 603MW of flexibility services to manage network constraints and fault support, reducing the need for diesel generation. Using CMZ contracts we have also secured 8GWh of renewable energy, delivering an operational cost saving of £251,000 and avoiding 4,500 tonnes of carbon emissions.”

SSEN has plans to rollout further CMZs during 2022, and currently has tenders out for a further 37 CMZs. These will conclude in January 2022.

The network operator has urged flexibility providers to register with its Dynamic Purchasing System, which will notify them of future tenders.

Flexibility is a core tenet of SSEN’s management plans for its network going forwards, with CMZ contracts providing distributed energy resource owners and operators with a way to be paid for generation and demand flexibility.

Additionally the Crowdflex project, which was run by SSEN Distribution together with National Grid ESO, Octopus Energy and Ohme, found that domestic flexibility can reduce peak demand by as much as 23%.

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