Cornwall Local Energy Market reaches ‘flexibility breakthrough’

The local Distribution System Operator and the Transmission System Operator are now able to procure flexibility from homes and businesses simultaneously

Cornwall’s Local Energy Market (LEM) has reached a significant “flexibility breakthrough”.

For the first time, the local Distribution System Operator (Western Power Distribution) and the Transmission System Operator (National Grid ESO) are now able to procure flexibility from homes and businesses simultaneously through Centrica’s auction-based marketplace platform.

The LEM programme has been operating since 2017 and features solar and battery systems installed into 100 homes across Cornwall – more than 125 Cornish businesses have also had flexible, low carbon energy technologies and monitoring equipment installed.

The LEM platform provides a mechanism for system operators to indicate when they will need an increase or decrease in generation or consumption to balance the grid or manage a local network constraint – homes and businesses can then provide this flexibility in return for a financial reward.

The new development means Western Power Distribution and National Grid ESO can place bids for flexibility services at the same time, with the system enabling the transmission and distribution networks to co-ordinate their procurement to avoid conflicting signals.

Pieter-Jan Mermans, Director of Optimisation at Centrica Business Solutions, said: “Improving grid flexibility benefits everyone from generators to consumers and these trials represent a major step forward.

“We are hugely grateful to the householders and businesses across Cornwall who have embraced this trial with open arms and we look forward to providing a full update after the trials conclude in spring 2020.”

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