Demand-side management

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The government has committed £100 million towards the development of the Sizewell C nuclear power plant project in Suffolk. The funding, separate to the £1.7 billion announced for new nuclear in last year’s Spending Review, is described as aiming to help EDF bring the project to maturity, attract investors and advance to the next phase in negotiations.
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Ofgem has paused its plans to expose smaller distributed generators to forward-looking transmission network charges after receiving opposition from a “large majority” of the respondents to its consultation on the proposals. However, the regulator said it continues to hold the view that “smaller generators should pay charges equivalent to larger generators where they have an equivalent impact on the network.”
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National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has issued a consultation on a new methodology for determining the de-rating factors for embedded generators in the Capacity Market, in particular gas and diesel reciprocating engines and energy-from-waste plants. Due to a lack of specific data, conventional generators embedded in distribution networks have previously been grouped together with their closest transmission-connected equivalents – for example, gas engines with open-cycle gas turbines.
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Utility Week speaks to Mark Futyan, chief executive at solar and storage developer Anesco, about the current state of the market for grid-scale batteries, which has quickly grown from nothing to a pipeline of many gigawatts over the last decade. He says a recent rise in battery prices due to supply constraints and surging demand from electric vehicles has done little to stop the boom as they become increasingly valuable to the energy system.  
Analysis
Crown Estate Scotland has announced the results of its ScotWind offshore wind leasing round, awarding options agreements to 17 projects with a combined capacity of 24.8GW - around two-and-a-half times the UK's existing offshore wind fleet. They include ten floating offshore wind projects with a total capacity of 14.6GW.   
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The Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC) has said it expects to return more than £39 million of Contracts for Difference payments to suppliers as result of exceptionally high power prices over the last three months of 2021. The body said the final quarter of the year was the first in the scheme’s history in which generators returned more money than they received.
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Latest in Demand-side management

Locational electricity pricing could save £30 billion – or £1,000 per household – by 2035, according to a new study from Energy Systems Catapult and Octopus Energy. The report said the current market arrangements were designed for an energy system dominated by large, centralised generators and “no longer makes sense”, resulting in a “growing tension between the wholesale market and physical reality”.
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Ofgem is proceeding will plans to establish a new advisory group as part of reforms to the rule change process for the Capacity Market. The regulator said new arrangements will enable the process to become “more dynamic and adaptive to changing market conditions, whilst also increasing transparency and promoting collaboration”.
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More than 50GW of demand-side flexibility from energy storage, electrolysers and interconnectors will needed by 2030 to soak up surplus renewable and nuclear power, LCP has forecast. The figure was derived from modelling of the government’s energy security strategy, which contained new targets for 24GW of new nuclear and 50GW of offshore wind generation by the end of the current decade.
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Ben Godfrey, distribution system operator manager at Western Power Distribution, discusses the company’s efforts to “turbo-charge” the market for flexibility, including through its Flexible Power platform that been adopted by all but one of the distribution network operators in Great Britain and its Intraflex trial of continuous close-to-real-time trading.  
Opinion
Western Power Distribution (WPD) has revealed it is undertaking a collaborative project with South West Water to explore how its pumping processes can be used to provide flexibility to the power grid.  The FLOWERS project will look at how energy efficiencies and flexibility options can provide mutual benefits to the networks and customers of both businesses.
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A new tool allowing companies to measure how much flexibility they have delivered to distribution network operators (DNOs) has been launched by the Energy Networks Association. The flexibility baseline verification tool was developed over two years through the Transition project led by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Distribution, which said it will create a standard and consistent decision-making process across all DNOs.
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The four-year-ahead (T-4) Capacity Market for delivery starting in 2025/26 has cleared at a new high of £30.59 per kilowatt per year. One analyst described the auction as a “watershed moment” for the energy industry, with the record-high price reflecting the need to attract investment in new-build capacity to fill the gap left by the closure of coal and nuclear power stations.
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Flexibility will underpin the future energy system but the power of location is yet to be fully unlocked and realised. Industry experts predict a whole range of business models will emerge around fixing balancing issues locally. But how do network operators ensure they can be facilitators rather than barriers to connecting technology before it connects to the system?
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National Grid Electricity System Operator and Octopus Energy have launched a new domestic flexibility trial to assess the role that households can play in reducing demand during winter peaks. The trial, which will run from 11 February to 31 March, will be open to all 1.4 million of Octopus Energy’s smart meter customers.
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Concerns have been raised over the deliberate wasting of energy to provide flexibility after load banks – devices for creating dummy loads to test power supplies such as backup generators – were accepted into an ad hoc service to increase demand on the power grid. The load banks were entered into the Optional Downward Flexibility Management service introduced by National Grid Electricity System Operator as an emergency measure to deal with low demand on the power grid over the summer of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Around one-fifth of capital’s sub-stations will need to be upgraded by 2030 without demand side response and storage measures, according to Sadiq Khan’s new and more ambitious blueprint to cut the capital’s emissions to net zero. The London’s mayor’s new carbon reduction pathway, published on Tuesday (18 January), has set a new target to reduce the capital’s emissions to 22% of 1990 levels by 2030, which compares to Khan’s previous goal of 40%.
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The UK’s largest ever study into domestic flexibility has suggested it could reduce peak electricity demand by as much as 6.8GW – or 10% - by 2030. The CrowdFlex project involving Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, National Grid Electricity System Operator, Octopus Energy and Ohme, explored how 25,000 households responded to price signals to reduce or increase their consumption.
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