November 26, 2022

The increasing demand for electricity increases the need for flexible solutions.  Image: Getty Images.

The increasing demand for electricity increases the need for flexible solutions. Image: Getty Images.

“If we look at the forecast from now to 2050, we expect electricity demand to double from a few hundred terawatt hours to over 600 TWh,” said Barry Hurst, Enel X’s head of business development.

Electric demand is set to skyrocket in the future as Britain turns to electrified solutions to reduce its carbon footprint. One of the biggest reasons for the increase in electric demand is the transition to electric vehicles.

“Most of the increase in demand will come from road vehicles such as electric vehicles, and that creates tremendous flexibility in the market,” Hurst said recently Current± briefings.

“It is crucial to understand what mechanisms will come out to support this issue and then provide the right services to our customers. They can be in the right market at the right time to maximize their earnings. That is the biggest challenge we see.”

Results from the DINO project in October showed that local energy grids could see an 80% increase in peak electricity loads by 2040 due to heat pumps, electric vehicles and household batteries.

Due to the increasing emphasis on promoting renewable technologies such as electric vehicles and batteries, research suggests by 2035, local grids could approach available capacity.

With this increasing demand, flexible services are essential to ensure the stability of the UK energy grid. To develop solutions to solve this critical problem, National Grid ESO is testing an on-demand flexibility service.

The initiative was outlined in ESO’s Winter Outlook report in October, when the operator said that while it faces the risk of power outages, it is “cautiously confident” that it has the tools to manage the predicted limitations.

The Demand Flexibility Service, which will run from 3 November to 31 March 2023, will have a guaranteed take-up price of £3,000/MWh (£3/KWh) for flexibility providers.

Enel X referred to local flexibility services as part of its portfolio. In this context, Mike Garland, head of flexible energy solutions at Enel X, explained that while the company is exploring this as part of its service offering, it is very “depending on proximity”.

“It [local flexible services] is a service that we follow but is highly location dependent. The customer must be close to the location where the requirements are for the day of performance.

“We’re definitely following the auctions and looking for opportunities for our clients, but turnout for these services is pretty low. We’re seeing more opportunities in other services before we get to that.”

In terms of local flexible services, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution earlier this year announced a tender for 70MW of flexibility capacity due to an expected risk of congestion on a local network in central south England.

The network operator was looking for contracts in 16 zones with an estimated total value of £6.7 million.

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