UK markets for flexibility services fast becoming a reality

UK markets for flexibility services fast becoming a reality

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Energy Networks Association’s Open Networks Project has today launched five major publications that mark yet another step forwards in energy networks’ move to establishing new markets for flexibility services – which would use various technologies such as electric vehicles and storage batteries to help electricity network operators better manage the future, smart energy system.

The Open Networks Project is an industry-wide project that brings together energy network companies with 45 energy experts and industry representatives to lay the foundations for the UK’s smart grid.  This includes developing a better understanding of the changing roles for all parties such as emerging Distribution System Operators.

The five new publications feature key industry terms and definitions, feasibility studies and guidelines on how flexibility services can best be connected to the existing grid and used to manage the system smarter and more efficiently.

Once rolled out at a local level, these best-practice guides will benefit customers and the networks – from the Shetland Islands to the Scilly Isles. They will help distributed energy generators and local energy players across the breadth of the UK with business planning and investment decisions.

The publications include:

The UK’s energy industry has shown strong support for establishing a smarter, flexible and more decentralised energy system, with close to 50 responses submitted to the recent Open Networks Project Future Worlds consultation. The Project’s largest-ever consultation called for industry feedback on five possible options for a future smart grid in the UK.

Independent consultants will review the responses to the Future Worlds consultation over the coming months to inform the impact analysis of the options; the next major stage of the project due to be completed in early 2019. This work will continue to be carried out in partnership with the Project’s Advisory Group of senior energy industry stakeholders, which has recently met for the ninth time.

By moving to a smarter, more flexible and more decentralised energy system the energy industry could help to reduce customers’ bills and help to save the public as much as £40bn by 2050, according to research carried out by Imperial College London and The Carbon Trust.

The Open Networks Project will be featured at this year’s leading network innovation conference, the Low Carbon Network Innovation (LCNI) conference, on 16 and 17 October in Telford, England. Tickets are available online now at

David Smith, Chief Executive Officer, ENA, said:

“As our energy system changes fundamentally, the Open Networks Project is transforming the way the UK’s electricity networks work and unlocking a whole new range of benefits for households and businesses.

“These five major publications mark another step forward in laying the foundations for a smart grid in the UK and establishing flexibility markets, which will promote greater competition in the market and give the public more control over how they use energy.

“We are delighted with the response to the Future World’s consultation which demonstrates that there is strong interest in the work being led by the Open Networks Project and industry stakeholders are key to developing this further.”

Stew Horne, Head of Energy Networks and Systems, Citizens Advice, said:

“Today’s publications show the continued progress the Open Networks Project is making and it is encouraging to see industry working together. Progress towards a smart energy system is essential and consumers stand to gain significantly from such innovation.

“Consumers should benefit from lower system costs, and some may be able to sell their flexibility as a service. We welcome this development, because consumers both now and in the future will lose out if we simply carry on with a business as usual approach.”


Editor’s notes

-       The Open Networks Project, launched in January 2017, is a key initiative to deliver UK Government policy set out in the Ofgem and BEIS Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, the Government’s Industrial Strategy and the Clean Growth Plan, working in collaboration with Ofgem, BEIS, 10 of UK and Ireland’s electricity network operators, and other key stakeholders.

-       For more information about the Open Networks Project, its workstreams, products and the stakeholder engagement process, please visit the Energy Networks Association website here.

For further information please contact:

Casey Sattler 

Press and Public Affairs Officer 

Energy Networks Association

Direct Email: [email protected]

Press Team: [email protected]

T: +44 (0) 20 7706 5115