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Storage dominates in UKPN’s most recent flexibility procurement, Piclo says

Image: Piclo.

Image: Piclo.

Storage, including electric vehicles (EVs), dominated in UK Power Networks (UKPN) recent world-first low voltage flexibility tender.

UKPN awarded £14 million worth of flexibility contracts using the Piclo Flex platform to enable the tenders. The winning contracts can be split into high voltage Secure and Dynamic services and low voltage Sustain and Dynamic services.

These Sustain and Dynamic services opened up a new opportunity for low-carbon technologies to provide flexibility, with storage such as EVs taking up the bulk of the contracts. Of the total 123MW of capacity, 80.1MW came from storage.

Within the Sustain category this is even higher percentage, with storage providing the full 1.7MW contract. For Dynamic services, storage accounted for 40MW out of a potential 72MW.

Of the £14 million contracted, £11.4 million was awarded to storage, while £2.1 million went to generators and £0.5 million to demand side response (DSR).

James Johnston, CEO and co-founder of Piclo said it was "exciting" to see the increasing role of technologies like EVs in the flexibility market.

"These results are an important milestone for DSO flexibility services with an increased scale, value and low-voltage opportunities marking the next step towards flexibility becoming “business as usual” in the UK.

“Piclo’s industry-defining platform will continue to facilitate these expanding markets, driving decarbonisation both in the UK and internationally. We look forward to continuing our relationship with UK Power Networks.”

The bulk of contracts went to those currently at the planned stage, with 110.5MW of capacity - or £11.8 million - awarded to these projects. Just 7.7MW - or £0.3 million - went to operational projects, suggesting that developers are incorporating the value of flexibility services into their business models at an early stage according to Piclo.

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, head of Smart Grid Development at UK Power Networks said: “Three years ago we set out our Flexibility Roadmap and hitting more than 100MW is an important milestone that’s how the market is really gathering pace. We could not have reached this without working really closely with the industry to co-design the products we’re offering and make the market open, transparent and accessible.

“Flexibility is the future because it is arguably the single most important element of a decarbonised smart electricity network. It gives us the flexibility we need to enable more renewable energy and forms a crucial element of the journey towards net zero.”

The Piclo Flex platform has been linked with a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) to enhance the procurement process, according to the company. It allows System Operators to be more dynamic, with automated and electronic procurement reducing administration and transaction costs.

UKPN has been using the Flex platform to expand its flexibility offering, growing from 0.3MW of contracts in 2017 to 123MW in 2020. The DNO first used Piclo’s platform to tender for flexibility in 2019, procuring 18.1MW through contracts worth £450,000.

The most recent flexibility tender was launched in November 2019, when it was hailed as the biggest ever competition for flexibility on Piclo Flex.


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