Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution has joined with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to conduct a pioneering energy trading trial.
The partnership could give the armed forces greater control over their energy expenses. The trial, conducted through SSEN’s TRANSITION project, marks the first time the MoD has engaged in flexibility trading. TRANSITION is funded by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition.
The MoD is one of the largest landowners and energy consumers in SSEN’s southern England license area, and is participating in flexibility trading through SSEN’s TRANSITION project, responding to requests to reduce energy demand during peak times to help balance the local network.
The trial was carried out with the support of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) at RAF Benson and Dalton Army Barracks in Oxfordshire during Spring 2023. The MoD and SSEN are exploring further trials, including peer-to-peer trades, to lay the foundation for improved energy management across the defense estate.
Brian Wann, the project manager for the TRANSITION project, said: “flexibility trading delivers efficiencies to all parties, allowing network operators and their connected customers to make the most of available capacity. This will be essential for regional energy resilience and allow all participants more control over their energy bills.”
Major General Richard Clements CBE, director of basing & infrastructure, said: “by reviewing our energy use through initiatives like the SSEN flexibility trading trial, we can better understand how and where to achieve greater, ‘greener’ efficiencies. This will enable us to build a more sustainable Army estate, as well as supporting the UK Government target of net zero by 2050.”
Flexibility, defined as the ability to adjust the timing or location of electricity generation, storage, or consumption in response to requests, is crucial for SSEN. With electricity demand projected to increase by 50% by 2035, improving the efficiency of every part of the existing network is vital. By collaborating with customers who can flex their energy usage, SSEN can accommodate more renewables and balancing technologies, such as batteries, without requiring extensive network reinforcement.
DIO’s chief executive, Mike Green, said: “DIO is pleased to be part of these exploratory steps into how we manage electricity usage across the Defence estate. Having facilitated the first Central Government Department participation in these Flexible Service trials, enabled by SSEN, we have gained useful insight into how we can manage efficiencies through existing assets and build much-needed resilience and independence into our future energy models, at a time when demand is set to increase significantly.”