Electricity network companies tendered a record 4.6GW of capacity on Great Britain’s local flexibility markets last year, with 2GW contracted.
The latest figures from Energy Networks Association (ENA) show that more than 70% of the contracted flexibility is made up of low-carbon technologies, such as stored energy, solar and biofuel. It is also the highest amount of flexibility tendered in Great Britain.
The figures come in the sixth year of ENA’s Open Networks programme and shortly after Ofgem noted progress and confirmed it would continue to support the programme as it accelerates.
ENA is also launching a new Success Framework to give market participants greater visibility of when each network company implements the Open Networks programme’s recommendations. A new benchmarking system, launched today, will provide greater transparency and highlight progress.
Local flexibility services are an important component of the UK’s net zero transition - 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.
Dr Avi Aithal, Head of Open Networks at ENA, said:
“The statistics we’ve released today show just how far flexibility has come. We believe these figures make Great Britain one of the biggest flexibility markets in the world. But today’s success is history tomorrow, so we need to keep pushing on and maximising flexibility across the networks.
“The government’s and Ofgem’s support for the programme has been invaluable and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them. It’s been a tremendously exciting time for the scheme as we have been focused on making flexibility accessible to everyone in the UK, which is vital to helping the UK meet our net zero goals at the least cost to customers.”
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Notes to editor
- Today ENA published the latest flexibility data and details of the 2023 Success Criteria Framework
- You can also read the Open Networks 2023 launch document and detailed work plan
- The government’s and Ofgem’s Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan (2021), sets out that flexibility could save consumers £10bn per year in energy costs by 2050 and reduce the total cost of the net zero transition by up to £70bn.
- As part of the Flexibility Commitment, Britain’s distribution network operators, and Open Networks remain committed to six key steps as we transition to a more efficient, smarter and low-carbon energy system fit for Britain’s future. These are:
- Champion a level playing field
- Ensure visibility and accessibility
- Conduct procurement in an open and transparent manner
- Provide clarity on the dispatch of services
- Provide regular, consistent and transparent reporting
- Work together towards whole energy system outcomes
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.
ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.
Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.
What are energy network operators?
Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 40,000 people in Great Britain.