Alistair Martin Flextricity: The coronavirus pandemic changed everything, in many cases very quickly. The effect of lockdown on energy demand was so rapid that Britain’s electricity industry found itself executing a handbrake turn. In doing so, the power sector has learned a lot about its own capabilities. Falling demand for electricity has helped break new records for the use of renewables – and for not using coal. The lesson from power is simple: we can be greener than we thought, sooner than we thought. As National Grid’s annual Future Energy Scenarios sets out, the combination of low demand, high renewables and flexibility will feature strongly in achieving net zero. At Flexitricity, we now have over 500MW of customer-side flexibility under management from our 24-hour control room in Edinburgh, generating income for our customers. We use this to help balance the system during both peaks and troughs, when demand is changing rapidly, or in response to the ebbs and flows of wind and solar power. The half-gigawatt milestone marks the coming of age of flexibility within the country’s electricity industry. We believe this is the largest, most diverse and most advanced demand-response portfolio in the UK; it’s this spread that allowed us to become the first aggregator to trade industrial and commercial demand in the GB Balancing Mechanism, first as a direct participant and now also as a Virtual Lead Party. Virtual power stations like Flexitricity’s are now as effective as traditional plants in securing electricity supplies, while being much cheaper and greener. We expect further dramatic growth in the demand response industry as the UK works towards its net zero goal.
Current 10th Aug 2020 read more »