Northern Powergrid has announced it will partner with Piclo to assess the potential for a “national flexibility procurement platform” in identifying flexible assets across the network.

Newly appointed commercial development manager, Andrew McKenna (pictured), has been tasked with assessing the customer benefits of flexibility services within the distribution network operator’s (DNO) areas of the north east, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.

He will explore new routes by which the local powergrid can connect with more customers eager to provide services, the company said.

McKenna previously worked his way through the ranks at Drax. During his four years at the company he became a senior regulator analyst following roles in risk analytics and portfolio optimisation.

He said: “Flexibility and its potential interaction with the distribution network is a fascinating topic from both an engineering and social perspective. It’s a great time to be working with our customers and re-tasking our increasingly smart assets as we step in to a future where customer flexibility assists the operation of the local grid.

“We have a lot of multi-site businesses on our patch and we still have a significant number of heavy industry players who we expect will be able to provide flexibility services. Over the course of the next few months we plan to ramp up meaningful engagement with potential flexibility providers and publish details of where we would like to procure future services on the Piclo Flex platform.

“We expect involvement with a nationally operating platform should particularly assist those providers with a portfolio of distributed energy resources. Through time, we hope to see convergence on flexibility practices. As such, it is good for us to test the market through a platform where national-scale collaboration is already taking place.”

Market testing will incorporate the use of a flexibility platform that gives Northern Powergrid an overview of available flexibility assets across its network. The learning from this will inform actions as the company moves forward.

Jim Cardwell, head of policy development for Northern Powergrid, said: “As we march towards the transition to DSO [distribution system operator] we are particularly interested in the potential benefits that flexibility service procurement can bring to the eight million people in our region.”

He added: “We hear from customers that in order to grow local flexibility markets, we need to show the value available and make it easy to participate. Joining the Piclo Flex platform is one of the ways in which we are working towards these objectives. I am pleased to welcome Andrew to the team to lead on this engagement.”

A number of DNOs have recently partnered with Piclo as part of its new online marketplace for local flexibility called Piclo Flex. Northern Powergrid follows UK Power Networks, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and Electricity North West.