SSEN places first CMZ contracts for the Isle of Islay to deliver a flexible low-carbon future

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has today announced that it has placed its first economically viable Constraint Managed Zone (CMZ) contracts, for a total of 6MW worth of services on the Isle of Islay.

Services have been secured for network outage support, which will be supplied by hydro power drawn from a reservoir to reduce reliance upon fossil fuel-based energy generation on the island during adverse network conditions. The support provided through the contracts will also deliver cost effective alternatives to traditional temporary generation services, for the homes, businesses and communities SSEN serves.

CMZ contracts are a central part of the ‘flexibility first’ commitment, whereby flexible options such as renewables and energy storage are considered when addressing network issues prior to investing in traditional reinforcement. Since 2015, SSEN has sought to manage this through Constraint Managed Zones (CMZ), which provide opportunities for smart energy technology to compete with traditional forms of network management.

SSEN is committed to an equitable transition to a smarter, more flexible network, ensuring no communities are left behind. SSEN is identifying opportunities for CMZ contracts across the Western Isles and Skye, with further zones currently under review. SSEN intends to secure 20MWs of contracted services before January 2020, with the aim of doubling this to over 40MW by the end of March 2020.

SSEN will be making all its flexibility needs visible on Piclo, which is an independent marketplace for buying and selling smart grid flexibility services. Flexibility providers are encouraged to register on the site to benefit from the opportunities provided by future CMZs. Solutions could range from embedded generation and energy storage, to demand-side response and even energy efficiency. Providers will also benefit from a new streamlined approach to the procurement, auction, contracting and settlement processes so bidding for and securing flexibility contracts will be quicker and easier.

Stewart Reid, Head of Future Networks at SSEN said: “SSEN is committed to the transition to a zero carbon economy, supported by a smart, flexible, efficient electricity grid. These CMZ contracts help ensure that flexibility services can support our network and reduce the reliance on polluting fossil fuels and help keep costs down for our customers.

“Services to support periods of network outage are particularly important for our Highland and Island customers who can experience harsh weather conditions. We are delighted to be increasing the resilience of our service through the contracts signed today.”

SSEN expects first utilisation of these services in the coming months, procuring flexibility through three services:

  1. CMZ Prepare – support the network during planned maintenance work
  2. CMZ Respond – support the network during fault conditions as a result of maintenance work
  3. CMZ Restore – support the network during faults that occur as a result of equipment failure

About the author

Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.8 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

Read more articles by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks