The electricity system operator at National Grid has created a dedicated control room desk for issuing instructions to smaller generators, battery storage operators and demand-side response providers.

In its first 24 hours of operation, the volume of bids and offers accepted from distributed energy resources – those connected to distribution networks – has risen by 113 per cent over the previous daily average to 87MWh.

The move comes after Limejump’s “virtual power plant” become the first aggregated unit to enter the balancing mechanism in August. Shortly afterwards, Ofgem approved changes to several industry codes to help others follow in their footsteps.

National Grid said there is currently 52MW of distributed energy resources available within the balancing mechanism. This figure is expected to reach 145MW by April.

Claire Spedding, balancing programme director for National Grid Electricity System Operator, said: “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.”

A spokeperson for Flexitricity – the second aggregator to enter the balancing mechanism after Limejump – said: “We’re delighted that National Grid is proving its commitment to a greener future and its faith in user-led energy in this way.”

“We believe that flexible energy use is a vital part of a greener energy system, balancing variable renewable generation and growing demand as heat and transport are electrified,” the spokesperson added.

“Flexibility will initially be provided by a wide range of behind-the-meter and front-of-the-meter assets, such as industrial, commercial and public sector load and combined heat and power, together with battery storage and peaking generation.

“In the future, community energy and electric vehicle charging as well as smart homes will also play a vital role.”