Scottish Power Energy Networks has become the fourth distribution network operator (DNO) to enter into a partnership with the Piclo Flex online auction platform to support its move towards flexible energy trading.
Piclo Flex, an independent marketplace for buying and selling smart grid flexibility services, is already working in partnership with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, UK Power Networks and Western Power Distribution.
The online system allows energy providers to register their assets on the Piclo Flex platform, which then qualifies them to place bids in DNOs' flexibility auctions, depending on their location.
To date, over 230 "flex providers" have registered 4.7GW of assets on the platform.
SP Energy Networks is looking to procure up to 95MW of flexible services in 10 locations across its two licence areas: SP Distribution in central and southern Scotland and SP Manweb in Merseyside, Cheshire and north Wales.
The flexibility would help it respond to planned or unplanned outages, or to offer an alternative to traditional, physical means of reinforcing the network.
SP Energy Networks has also published site-specific ceiling prices that it will accept from providers for availability and utilisation bids, in order to "inform the market, following feedback from flex providers and wider stakeholders."
According to a briefing document from SSEN, a typical contract might be struck at around £300/MWh.
Graham Campbell, head of distribution system operation at SP Energy Networks, said: "We know flexibility is key to the development of the smart network of the future. As we help the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments achieve their ambitious net zero carbon targets, ad our world becomes ever more reliant on electricity, these flexibility services are vital.
"They will help us ensure our customers continue to receive a secure and reliable power supply whilst facilitating allowing them to take full advantage of low carbon technologies."
In Scotland, the areas identified in the auction are Broxburn and Paulville in west Lothian, Durie House in Fife and Berwick Ring.
In the SP Manweb area, the priority areas are Flint, north Wales; Ringway and Carrington, Greater Manchester; North Shropshire, Newton/Welshpool, mid Wales, and Crewe, Cheshire.
Companies with energy assets in the ten areas can register them from 4 October until 6 December, with the pricing competition opening on 11 December and closing on 15 January.
Providers include demand-side response (DSR) aggregators, electricity generation operators, battery operators, local authorities, industrial facilities and electric vehicle charging operators.
In 2018/19, Piclo says that it ran trials involving all six DNOs in the UK, accounting for 456MW of flexibility services.