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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.

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.

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 2022. 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.

2022 Flexibility Tender dates

The 2021/2022 DNO Flexibility Tender Dates and 2022 ESO Flexibility Procurement information is available on our website via one, easy to read, document.

Baselining verification tool

A tool is now available to help flexibility providers follow a clear, common and more accurate approach for measuring how much flexibility they have delivered to Britain’s distribution network operators (DNOs).  

The baselining verification tool will be used by flexibility providers to explore and determine their baseline calculations for participating in flexibility markets.

The tool is available online, along with an accompanying User Guide which provides further information on the purpose of the tool and how to use it.

Things we're doing this year

We will continue to facilitate the development of local flexibility markets through more standardisation, simplification and transparent decision-making. The project has identified nine areas for development, six of which will continue from 2021:

  • Making enhancements to the Common Evaluation Methodology (CEM) and tool used to evaluate flexibility and traditional intervention options
  • Improvement to existing Standard agreement for procuring Flexibility services across DSO and ESO.
  • Increasing alignment of flexibility services procurement processes across Distribution Networks Operators (DNOs) and Electricity System Operator (ESO) and reviewing the approach to settlement across Distribution System Operation (DSO) services
  • Reviewing interoperability of systems across DNO and ESO systems
  • Defining and implementing ‘Primacy Rules’ for the ESO and DNOs to manage service conflicts
  • Reviewing existing (and new if applicable) Flexibility products and analysing stackability to address barriers
  • Supporting Ofgem and BEIS’ initiative to achieve common methodologies for carbon reporting and monitoring across DNOs
  • Improving provision and accessibility of curtailment information for Active Network Management (ANM) enabled Flexible Connections
  • Integrating the various aspects of flexibility into a coherent framework and setting out a clear strategic view of further development required in key aspects of flexibility

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

ON20-WS1A-P3 Flexibility Products: Active Power Service definition and implementation plan

Final implementation plan for networks implementing standardised Active Power Services

Resource type: Report  File type: PDF   File size: 760.3 KB

ON21-WS1A-P4 Standard Agreement for procuring Flexibility Services (Version 2) (27 Aug 2021)

Current version of the Common Contract for procuring flexibility services.

Resource type: Form  File type: Word document   File size: 131.6 KB

ON21-WS1A-Flexibility Figures 2021 Full Update (30 Jul 2021)

Flexibility figures across Great Britain as of July 2021 that demonstrate the scale and size of local flexibility markets.

Resource type: Report  File type: Zip file   File size: 184.8 KB

ON22-WS1A-P1 Common Evaluation Methodology (CEM) and Tool v2.1- User Guide (14 Jan 2022)

Full user guide for the Open Networks Common Evaluation Methodology tool.

Resource type: Guide or guidance  File type: PDF   File size: 397.6 KB

ON22-WS1A-P1 Statement for Common Evaluation Methodology for Network Investment Decisions v2.0 (14 Jan 2022)

Full methodology, statement, and appendix for the Open Networks Common Evaluation Methodology.

Resource type: Agenda  File type: PDF   File size: 237.4 KB

ON22-WS1A-P7 2021 Baseline Methodologies Final Report (1 Feb 2022)

2021 Baseline Methodologies final report

Resource type: Report  File type: PDF   File size: 493.7 KB

ON22-WS1A-P7 Flexibility Baselining Tool User Guide (07 Apr 2022)

User guide for the Flexibility Baselining tool.

Resource type: Agenda  File type: PDF   File size: 1.9 MB

ON22-WS1A-P1 Common Evaluation Methodology Tool Version 2.1 (12 Apr 2022)

The enhanced Common Evaluation Methodology (CEM) tool is used to evaluate flexibility and traditional intervention options (including optionality and carbon…

Resource type: Process  File type: Zip file   File size: 1.3 MB

ON22-WS1A-P3 Dispatch interoperability and settlement review of existing practices and gap analysis (05 Apr 2022)

Dispatch interoperability and settlement review of existing practices and gap analysis.

Resource type: Report  File type: PDF   File size: 372.7 KB

ON22-WS1A-P2 Recommended Steps to Move to Real Time Procurement (21 Apr 2022)

This report sets out a best view of steps required in the short, medium and longer term to move towards real time flexibility procurement.

Resource type: Report  File type: PDF   File size: 511.8 KB

ON22-WS1A-P5 Primacy Draft Rules Increment 1 (28 Apr 2022)

This report summarises the Primacy Rules selected to trial across the chosen Use Cases within Product 5 of WS1A of the ENA’s Open Networks programme.

Resource type: Report  File type: PDF   File size: 1.0 MB