As flexibility procurement becomes more important to network operators across the country, Northern Powergrid will partner with Piclo to assess the potential for a national flexibility procurement platform.
This crucial step forward in flexibility planning is being steered by the operator’s Commercial Development Manager, Andrew McKenna.
Andrew’s first task is assessing the customer benefits of flexibility services within Northern Powergrid’s operating areas of the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, and exploring new routes by which the local powergrid operator can connect with more customers eager to provide services. This assessment will inform an overarching flexibility strategy for the company as it transitions to being a proactive Distribution System Operator (DSO).
Andrew joins after a four-year stint at Drax where he rose through the ranks to become a senior regulatory analyst following roles in risk analytics and portfolio optimisation.
Initial market testing will incorporate use of a flexibility platform that gives Northern Powergrid an overview of available flexibility assets across its network. The learning delivered will inform actions as the company moves forward with this valuable area of work.
This assessment of the provision of flexibility as an alternative to longer-term reinforcement is a key aim for Northern Powergrid in 2018. “As we march towards the transition to DSO we are particularly interested in the potential benefits that flexibility service procurement can bring to the 8 million people in our region,” explained Jim Cardwell, Head of Policy Development for Northern Powergrid. “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 Picloflex 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.”
Speaking about what attracted him to the role, Andrew commented: “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,” concluded Andrew. “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 Picloflex 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."