National Grid is aiming to make it easier for smaller generators to participate in the national electricity market with the launch of its new ‘Distributed Resource’ desk.
As the Electricity System Operator (ESO) in Great Britain, National Grid balances electricity supply and demand in real time. Its control room receives bids and offers daily from generators detailing the amount of power they can provide, the time they can provide it, and at what price. These bids are accepted or rejected based on what is needed to manage the network – opting for the lowest cost when possible.
The distributed resource desk enables power system engineers to give instructions to smaller generators, battery storage operators and demand side response providers much faster than before.
It follows the opening up of the Balancing Mechanism market last year, allowing smaller market players to compete with larger power plants to offer power and services to the grid.
National Grid staff working on the new desk focus on optimising the use of these new assets and help them develop their capabilities to keep facilitating the growth of the market.
The desk proved its worth from the start, with the number of bids and offers from these providers accepted by the control room more than doubling to 87MWh in its first 24 hours of operation.
As National Grid explained, aggregators such as Limejump and Flexitricity act on behalf of several energy providers – each generating a relatively small amount of power but which together meet the requirement for entry into the Balancing Mechanism market.
In combination, these providers have 52MW of power available within the Balancing Mechanism market and National Grid expects the market to grow to 145MW by April 2019.
Claire Spedding, balancing programme director for National Grid ESO, commented: “I am delighted that, after facilitating the access of a number of new parties into the Balancing Mechanism market last year, we are now able to take this next exciting step forwards. Putting a dedicated ‘Distributed Resource’ desk into the control room means we can create expertise in really understanding how these assets can contribute to balancing the nation’s electricity system.”