SSEN releases its largest single offering of flexibility service zones
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution has released 37 new flexibility zones across its network areas to help support electricity system security and resilience in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
The release of 37 new zones across the north of Scotland and central southern England marks SSEN’s biggest single flexibility offering to date. Open to all providers, many of the 37 zones have no capacity limits, providing opportunities to secure higher than usual levels of capacity in each area to support the electricity network.
Flexibility is the ability to shift the timing and location of both the consumption and generation of energy. It will play a crucial role in a cost-effective transition to net zero, and a smart system which uses technologies to balance supply and demand and manage constraints on the network.
This week, the UK Government published its Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan 2021, which highlighted the potential for flexibility to reduce annual energy system costs by £10bn a year by 2050 whilst creating 24,000 jobs.
The flexibility zones, known as Constraint Managed Zones (CMZs), provide an alternative to traditional network management when it is experiencing constraints or high levels of demand. Rather than rely solely on diesel generators or back-up power stations, CMZs allow resources such as renewable energy generation and energy storage to keep the power flowing until the electricity supply returns to normal levels. CMZs and the flexibility they provide can also help to delay, and in certain circumstances, avoid traditional network reinforcement, helping drive cost-effective network management solutions.
The 37 new zones consist of 12 in SSEN’s central and southern England distribution area and 25 zones in its north of Scotland area. 24 zones across the north of Scotland will open for tender on Monday 26 July and close on Friday 27 August. The remaining 13 zones will open in December and close in January 2022, although providers can register their interest in these zones now.
Alex Howison, Flexible Solutions Manager for SSEN said:
“Flexibility and CMZs will play a key role in the journey to net zero as demand on the electricity network increases. We are really excited to launch our largest single offering of flexibility services with these 37 new zones, and how they are supporting greater network resilience through a more efficient and cost-effective approach.
“These 37 new zones demonstrate SSEN’s ongoing leadership in this space and present an exciting opportunity for flexibility providers such as generators, storage resources, demand response and energy efficiency options to play a greater role in supporting network resilience and more sustainable solutions in the journey to net zero.”
Earlier this year, SSEN secured 348MW of flexible energy services across seven sites using CMZs, enough to power the equivalent of 91,000 homes, and bring SSEN among the top three DNOs in the UK for capacity of flexibility secured. To date, SSEN has secured 603 MWs of flexibility services.