Demand response specialist Flexitricity enables first company to take advantage of new real time grid balancing mechanism
Two batteries owned by Philip Dennis Foodservice have provided power to the grid in response to a call from National Grid ESO, taking advantage of newly-launched balancing mechanism (BM) wider access arrangements in a first for the fast-expanding smart grid sector.
Demand response specialist Flexitricity announced yesterday that it had aggregated the two batteries to provide power to the grid through the BM following reforms late last year to open up the market to a wider range of grid flexibility providers.
Roisin Quinn, head of national control at National Grid ESO, hailed the move as a major milestone for the UK's transition towards a smarter and more flexible power grid. "This transformation is central to the way we balance the system today - particularly as we work to meet some of the challenges associated with balancing the system in lockdown conditions - and forms an important part of being able to operate carbon free by 2025," she said.
Philip Dennis Foodservice is a family-owned catering wholesaler based in Devon that supplies customers with a range of frozen, ambient, and chilled foods. The company boasts a Tesla energy storage system at its site in Mullacott and a BYD battery at another site at Roundswell, both of which are managed through Flexitricity's virtual power plant platform.
Smart grid specialists such as Flexitricity pool together energy storage and demand response capacity that can help balance grids by shifting demand to match supply peaks and troughs.
Demand response services have typically worked on a predictive basis, but the move to open up the BM market - which has traditionally been dominated by large energy suppliers - is designed to allow more businesses to offer flexibility services in response to real time requests.
"Balancing mechanism wider access presents a huge opportunity for a range of flexible energy users, including EV users, domestic heating and energy storage, district heating, renewables and community energy projects, and industrial and commercial flexibility such as refrigeration, HVAC and lighting," said Flexitricity. "This change will improve system flexibility, which will facilitate renewable energy deployment and bring better value to consumers. New entrants to the market - like Philip Dennis Foodservice - will be able to reduce their environmental impact whilst creating additional revenue streams without disrupting day-to-day operations."
The new service sees Flexitricity monitor the balancing mechanism and remotely alter the charge and discharge profile of Philip Dennis Foodservice's batteries on site, responding to National Grid ESO's requirements to balance supply and demand in real time.
Andy Lowe, director at Flexitricity, said the company was "delighted to be the first to complete a trade in the balancing mechanism utilising this new route to market and are fully committed to helping more businesses like Philip Dennis Foodservice to access this revenue source".
"Our focus has always been to build a decentralised, greener and fairer energy system where all energy users benefit - not just the big suppliers," he added. "It's hugely rewarding to see that that's now becoming a reality. Philip Dennis Foodservice - a small, family-owned business - is traded as part of our virtual power plant in the same, lucrative market the 'Big Six' are trading in. It's a perfect example of the progress we've made as an industry over the last few years."
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