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Flexibility services

Being flexible with how and when we consume and produce energy means we can make sure the power generated and delivered to us always matches the amount we use.

Flexible technologies like electric vehicles and solar can provide ‘flexibility services’ to electricity networks. By releasing power back to the grid at times of high demand, and storing it during times of lower demand, local 'flexibility services' unlock additional capacity and support the connection of more low-carbon technology like wind power.

Creating local markets which work for customers

We are helping create local markets for flexible services, making the customer experience consistent and seamless across the country.

Customers can bid to provide energy to the networks. This energy could come from solar panels or might be stored in the batteries of their electric vehicles. This creates flexibility and more flexibility means a reduced need to build new infrastructure, lowering bills for everyone.

Flexibility consultation

The project team has launched its annual wide reaching consultation on flexibility. The consultation is open for eight weeks and closes on Friday 24 September). ENA’s Open Networks project team are welcoming responses from the energy industry and beyond on how the project can further drive standardisation in local energy markets right across the country.

Flexibility figures

Since 2018, distribution network operators (DNOs) have been tendering and procuring various flexibility services to help manage congestion in the local electricity grids. Our consolidated flexibility figures demonstrate the scale and size of these local flexibility markets from distribution network operators (DNOs) in Great Britain, as well as the National Grid ESO Contracted Flexibility Figures.

Further information on the active power services defined by Open Networks is available in our Active Power Services Implementation Plan. These figures are based on tendering activities and do not include a range of early market testing activity (e.g. Expressions of Interests) that DNOs are undertaking to better understand connected flexibility in their areas ahead of RIIO-ED2.

For more information on the figures, our flexibility legend defines all the figures that are reported against all the services.

Flexibility timeline

Flexibility services are playing a bigger and more important role in providing clean, reliable energy to Britain’s homes, businesses, and communities.

On our flexibility timeline you can find a schedule of flexibility tenders across all of the GB DNOs for 2021. We have also included the links to each of the GB DNOs Flexibility Tenders pages, so you know how to get directly involved in these markets.

Flexibility commitment

In December 2018, grid operators signed up to ENA’s Flexibility Commitment, an agreement that saw a boost in the use of smart energy technologies to reduce the need for building new electricity grid infrastructure.

In June 2019, the networks built on their original commitment and launched Our Six Steps for Delivering Flexibility Services to define how these markets will work in practice. Endorsed by the six DNOs, independent Distribution Network Operator GTC, it ensures that local markets are open and transparent for all to participate in, creating new opportunities for energy suppliers and aggregators to work with their customers to sell services to grid operators.

Things we're doing this year

We are continuing to focus on standardising processes and making it easier to connect to the grid. The project team has identified nine key areas for development:

  • Enhancements to the Common Evaluation Methodology and Tool used to evaluate flex and traditional intervention options
  • Alignment of procurement timescales
  • Review of the curtailment requirements specified in existing Flexible Connections (ANM)
  • Improvements to existing Commercial arrangements - Standard Agreement
  • Defining 'Primacy' rules for the ESO and the DNOs to manage service conflicts
  • Support non-DSO services and align their proliferation for grid resilience
  • Implementation of common Baseline Methodologies
  • Equalising the balance of curtailment risk for ANM connections
  • Strategy for improving the availability of Curtailment Information

More information on these areas and their progress can be found in the Resource library.