Orkney in new flex trial after £1.6m funding win

Technology company Electron is the lead partner in a project to develop a multi-product flexibility exchange that has won £1.6m in the Flex Competition run by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Orkney in new flex trial after £1.6m funding win

The project aims to deliver a single access point to multiple energy services such as balancing, stability and network capacity, making it quicker and simpler for assets to provide these services.

The market will go live first on the Orkney islands, where renewable energy generation often exceeds grid capacity, creating a huge opportunity for flexibility.

The consortium, named TraDER, brings together Community Energy Scotland, CGI, EDF, Energy Systems Catapult, Kaluza (part of the OVO Group) and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks.

Other players in include investment company Downing and United Utilities.

TraDER is a crucial step in unlocking the full value of flexibility by integrating assets into a smart, efficient and flexible energy system


Mark Bygraves, chief executive, Electron

TraDER will draw on Kaluza’s market expertise in residential flexibility and their intelligent energy platform, as well as the trading experience and consumer engagement initiatives of Kaluza and EDF.

Piclo is heading the consortium that won the remainder of the £2.2m Flex Competition BEIS funding.

Joanna Hubbard, Electron’s chief executive and co-founder, said. “We want to make it easier for distributed energy resources to play their full role in lowering the cost and carbon intensity of managing the grid.

“This starts with delivering the world’s first marketplace for network capacity: a market in which renewable generators can pay flexible assets to make space for them on an increasingly congested grid. This means we can bring more low cost, low carbon generation into the system and create new revenue opportunities for clean technology operators.

“Longer term, TraDER also presents us with an opportunity to bring together previous work on aligning and simplifying asset registration processes and coordinating flexibility markets through price signals. We believe that these are the key enablers for transparent, liquid markets that will support the transition to net zero.”

The minister for energy and clean growth, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “If we are to end our contribution to climate change by 2050, it is vital that we explore innovative methods to integrate low carbon sources into our energy system. Building an online marketplace where households and businesses can trade flexibility will make our system more efficient and reduce energy bills.”

Conor Maher-McWilliams, head of flexibility at Kaluza, said: “To build the smart zero carbon grid of the future we need a trading platform that creates opportunities and unlocks the true potential of flexible technologies.

“Today’s infrastructure fails to grasp the full value at its fingertips. Through an intelligent energy platform, connected devices in the home are already providing flexibility to the grid and saving customers money off their energy bills.

“However, this new flexibility will be able to go so much further if traded within a co-ordinated, agile system that responds in real time to the grid’s needs. We are excited to be working with Electron to demonstrate the rewards of this innovative trading model.”

Elexon chief executive, Mark Bygraves, said: “We are pleased to support the development of electricity flexibility exchanges as they could play an important role in helping businesses and other flexibility options, such as storage providers, to trade electricity locally.

“TraDER is a crucial step in unlocking the full value of flexibility by integrating assets into a smart, efficient and flexible energy system.

“The wealth of experience brought by all of the project partners, combined with the innovative approach to trading, makes this initiative an exciting development in delivering a whole system approach to trading.”

Community Energy Scotland head of innovation, Mark Hull, said: “This is a great step both toward addressing real challenges for the communities of Orkney and adding ways to create mutual opportunity for the wider sector. Building on concerted efforts nationally and internationally to ensure that communities and local actors can have a role and benefit from the current energy revolution, local accessible trading platforms such as TraDER show a real way to bring grid, locality and the value of individual and community assets together in a way that we all can benefit.”

Andrew Roper, distribution systems operations director at SSEN, said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners to deliver the modern electricity grid of the future. SSEN is committed to being a neutral facilitator of the markets that are created in the transition to a smarter, flexible network. Therefore we are thrilled to participate in TraDER, unlocking new opportunities for renewables to participate in supporting energy security, and the UK’s ambitions for a net zero economy.”



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