Electricity systems must adopt flexibility platforms to meet future demand: Ofgem

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As electricity systems become smarter and more decentralised in a bid to reduce carbon use, flexibility becomes a priority, says the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) in their report Flexibility Platforms in electricity markets. Flexibility is defined as the ability to change generation and/or consumption patterns as a reaction to changes in price within the energy system.

As electricity systems become more flexible, they will become more effective and efficient in responding to changes in consumer demand and supply. To achieve this flexibility, Ofgem recommends the creation of flexibility platforms, and describes two main types:

  1. Peer-to-peer platforms. These are start-up energy solutions that facilitate energy trading direct between individual businesses and prosumers, without a need for a centralised coordinator. However, they are less suitable for providing grid services to network operators, which often need greater control and accountability.
  2. Grid services platforms. These provide services that require greater coordination between network operators and electricity systems, and usually involve larger assets. While both platforms serve specific purposes, grid services platforms will play a bigger role as electricity markets strive to become more flexible. Ofgem believes that in markets such as Great Britain, the assets needed to provide this increased flexibility already exist and are connected to distribution and transmission networks.

Different stakeholders are now simultaneously developing different proprietary technologies, leading to a duplication of efforts. A coordinated approach needs to be adopted, which will include operational standards for data, processes and interoperability. For more insight into flexibility in electrical systems, please read the full report Flexibility Platforms in electricity markets.


         

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