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UKPN takes up Open Utility's Piclo for new flexibility marketplace

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Image: Open Utility.

Open Utility’s Piclo trading platform is to be used by distribution network operator (DNO) UK Power Networks (UKPN) to develop and trial an online marketplace for local flexibility.

Less than three months after the company was awarded more than £400,000 to develop its local energy trading platform into a the new flexibility marketplace, Open Utility has been selected by UKPN to facilitate its plans for flexibility procurement.

Following its service tender carried out last August to identify the need for flexibility across its network, UKPN will use the new Piclo platform to help open up new markets for providers by making it easier for them to sell their services and help networks manage times of peak demand.

This will digitise UKPN’s procurement process for customer flexibility, streamline the bidding process for service providers and optimise network investment decisions through improved matching of service providers with network needs.

The use of Piclo in this way is intended to form part of UKPN’s transition towards a Distribution Systems Operator (DSO), whereby the network company will operate and develop an active distribution system.

This will allow networks to take on more local distributed, low carbon energy sources and tackle the rise of new technologies such as electric vehicles and energy storage.

Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UKPN, said: “The way we generate, distribute and use energy is changing and UK Power Networks is in a great place to make the most of the opportunities this transformation offers for our customers.

“DSOs must collaborate with the technology sector to meet consumers’ demands for ‘connected living’ and procure customer flexibility as a cost-effective alternative to network upgrades.

“Working with Open Utility to create this unique trading platform will make it quicker, easier and cheaper for our customers to supply their services to the market.”

James Johnston, chief executive of Open Utility, added: “We are incredibly excited to work with UK Power Networks. Following backing from BEIS, it is a hugely important milestone to sign up our first Distribution System Operator. We look forward to supporting the development of a smart grid in the UK.”

Open Utility’s flexibility marketplace trial will run throughout 2018 after the planned launch of the service in spring 2018, at which point flexibility providers will be able to register their assets and start to participate in local tenders.

Using Piclo to provide flexibility in this way follows the same successful model used in the platform’s past to facilitate local energy trading between renewable energy generators and customers.

Since completing its first trial with Good Energy in May 2016, the platform has been commercialised by the supplier into peer-to-peer renewable energy trading platform Selectricity. It has also been picked up by the Essent utility in the Netherlands, where it will be released as 'Ellyn', and by Italian green generator and supplier ERG for a trial.


For more on Piclo and Open Utility, click here to find out what happened with Clean Energy News’ Liam Stoker visited the company back in November.


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