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SSEN turns to Open Utility for flexibility trading

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Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has become the second distribution network operator (DNO) to task Open Utility with the development of an online energy flexibility trading tool.

The collaboration will see SSEN trial its proprietary Piclo software to effectively create a market for the trade of flexibility at the local level.

Piclo enables DNOs – or DSOs as they are becoming – to procure flexible capacity from technologies including battery storage and demand response aggregators to essentially meet the needs of local users.

The software, which acts as a matchmaking and trading platform, will be trialled by SSEN and its findings used to help inform SSEN’s ongoing research into the area of flexibility procurement.

It also professes to unlock new revenue streams for homes, business and communities by offering those services to the network operator.

Steve Atkins, DSO transition manager at SSEN, said: “We are delighted to partner with Open Utility in support of their innovative Piclo platform which will provide invaluable insight to help inform our transition to a DSO and the new opportunities this will create for our customers through peer-to-peer and flexibility trading.

“As we continue the transition to a DSO, working in collaboration with key partners such as Open Utility will be crucial to learn the lessons required to support the shift to a smarter, flexible energy system that importantly, delivers for all customers.”

In January this year UK Power Networks became the first DNO to work with Open Utility on the development of an online flexibility marketplace, however at the time the latter said it was keen to replicate that work with other DNOs.

The Piclo service was first designed to work by matching distributed generators with potential offtakers, eventually resulting in a deal with clean energy supplier Good Energy to collaborate on a matching service dubbed Selectricity.  

James Johnston, chief executive and co-founder at Open Utility, however said that the energy sector cannot be transformed by an online marketplace acting alone, and would also require “meaningful partnerships with incumbents working towards a common goal”.

“We are uniquely positioned to understand the disruptive forces of digital technology and the evolving needs of the highly complex energy system. Our partnership with SSEN reflects this understanding,” he said.

In January we sat down with Open Utility to discuss the company’s disruptive plans for the sector, more on which can be read here.

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