March 7, 2019: UK distribution network operator Western Power Distribution announced plans on February 11 to procure up to 93MW of distributed energy resources within the next year.
The network operator intends to procure demand response resources across 12 zones in the south-west of England and Wales by 2020.
The procurement process is technology agnostic but favours types of flexibility that are dispatchable and available at times of peak demand, a company spokesman told ESJ.
The company, which already uses smart grid flexibility to reduce system upgrades required to meet new demand or generation sources, sees customer provided flexibility as the next step in the transition to a smarter, more flexible power system.
The move is part of the company’s transition to distribution system operator model to acknowledge the two-way nature of today’s power system as residents both supply and use power from and to the grid.
Ben Godfrey, network strategy team manager for WPD, told ESJ the change to a DSO model was essential to driving performance and efficiency from networks and ensuring it could meet future energy demands.
He said: “The UK’s electricity system is undergoing a rapid period of change as distribution network customers invest in generation and alter their consumption behaviours to influence a lower carbon future.
“To enable a greater volume of demand, generation and storage to be connected our networks are becoming smarter and more active. Creating a more efficient and flexible system will empower customers to be at the centre of the energy revolution.
“WPD has proven the flexibility can be provided by DER and has integrated the procurement bid/offer systems, electronic dispatch, settlement and billing into its own main business functions.”
The company is looking to use alternative techniques — including flexible energy resources, low carbon heating and e-mobility — to deliver security of supply and cost benefits.