Electricity North West (ENW) has become the fifth distribution network operator (DNO) to join the Flexible Power platform originally developed by Western Power Distribution (WPD) as part of an Ofgem-sponsored innovation project.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, SP Energy Networks and Northern Powergrid all announced plans to join a revamped version of the online platform in October last year.

ENW said all of its tenders will henceforth be signposted and operated through the platform, which it will also begin using to issue dispatch instructions to contracted providers later this year.

The company said the move is in direct response to feedback from customers, who asked for a simpler way to engage in flexibility markets. The platform allows providers to participate in the flexibility markets of multiple networks though a single, joint website, where they are able to view locations, requirements, procurement notices and documentation.

ENW said it avoids the complexities and resource requirements of liaising with multiple network operators separately. The participating DNOs have committed to further develop Flexible Power and make it compatible with other flexibility platforms.

ENW engineering and technical director Steve Cox said: “We are committed to facilitating a move to net zero carbon within the North West and believe flexibility plays a huge role in this transition.

“We are looking forward to joining this collaboration, which we believe will be instrumental in supporting the development of these new markets and further reduce barriers to participation. This will be key to our net zero carbon transition and allow more stakeholders to realise the benefits that can be achieved from flexibility.”

Graham Campbell, head of whole systems and commercial at SP Energy Networks said: “The flexibility market is developing at pace and swiftly moving towards becoming a business-as-usual practice across our industry, as it’s a clear means of maximising our network potential.

“However, as an emerging market, we recognise the challenges new entrants face. That’s why we were delighted to join forces with the other UK DNOs to launch the Flexible Power platform last year to help streamline the process for providers and ensure consistency across the market.

“I’m equally as pleased to see another DNO coming on board in what is truly a collaborative effort to remove barriers for market participants and provide easier access to flexibility opportunities across the UK.”

Graham Halladay, operations director for WPD, said: “Providing neutral marketplaces will be an important function for distribution system operators and the flexibility market shows what can be done and how the industry responds to customer feedback.”

He continued: “WPD initially created and trialled Flexible Power with funding from Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance incentive and I’m incredibly proud to see the value of this funding increase through the adoption of Flexible Power by other UK DNOs.”

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