UK utility unveils £50m flexibility tender


English grid company UK Power Networks has announced the pre-qualification phase of a £50 million (€55.8 million), 250 MW grid flexibility procurement exercise it has described as its “largest ever open tender.”

The Hong Kong-owned grid operator, which serves London, the English South East and the East of England, said operators of assets such as batteries or demand-side response with a capacity of as little as 10 kW can participate in the tender, with pre-qualification closing on December 8.

The power company is offering access to more than 130 sites across its three service areas, for a tender which will be conducted from January 11-20.

A press release published by the CK Hutchison Holdings-owned business last week stated the sites available would range from low voltage facilities up to the grid company's first extra high voltage network assets, opening up participation as widely as possible.

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Sotiris Georgiopoulos, head of smart grid development at UK Power Networks, said: “A huge part of our success so far has been because we have co-designed the market with the very people participating in it, which has led to a host of innovations such as contracts ranging from six months to seven years in length, and minimum volumes of just 10 kW to participate.”

The network company says tendering for flexibility from utility scale batteries and smaller systems with smart meters – and those aggregated into virtual power plants – is cheaper than constructing new substations and laying cable so it will reduce electricity prices for customers.

The tender will offer contracts that can run until 2028.

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