National Grid and Electron, the provider of next generation market platform, ElectronConnect, have entered into a strategic partnership intended to increase the volume and value of flexibility for both system operators and flexibility service providers (FSPs) by enabling market interoperability.

The collaboration between National Grid’s distribution system operator (DSO) division and Electron will see Electron integrate its next generation flexibility market platform, ElectronConnect, with National Grid’s Market Gateway. This should give FSPs greater choice over how they access and participate in flexibility on National Grid’s electricity distribution network, lowering barriers to entry and increasing market participation.

ElectronConnect enables system operators to procure flexibility from multiple technology types, network levels and time scales, from a day-ahead to a year-ahead. For FSPs, ElectronConnect streamlines the process of participation in flexibility markets, offering an end-to-end solution from onboarding through to bidding, dispatch and settlement, all delivered through an intuitive web-based UI and set of open APIs.

Managing peak time demand

Network flexibility enables National Grid DSO to effectively manage peak-time demand. This is helping to connect more customers to the network, while simultaneously keeping customer energy bills to a minimum as National Grid delivers longer term investments to the infrastructure.

In the past year National Grid has deferred over £80m in network reinforcement works in its electricity distribution network through the use of flexibility services. For customers, if they participate in flexibility, they can potentially benefit from lower energy bills, depending on the rewards offered by their supplier.

Promoting an open system

This strategic initiative illustrates how National Grid is promoting interoperability between market platforms. The aim is to make it easier and more valuable for FSPs to participate in flexibility, ultimately increasing adoption across National Grid’s electricity distribution network. The standardisation that underpins this ecosystem will also promote greater transparency and accessibility of data – building on the existing initiatives led by Open Networks and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, which all aim to improve decision making and alleviate operational bottlenecks for both system operators and FSPs.

Jo-Jo Hubbard, CEO and Co-Founder, Electron said: “This approach is something we're strong advocates for at Electron and sits perfectly alongside the open ecosystem-led design of ElectronConnect.”

Helen Sawdon, Flexibility Commercial Manager, National Grid DSO said: “We know that customers want flexibility services to be easy to access and to understand. Strategic partnerships like ours with Electron are key to reducing the barriers to flexibility and increasing uptake.”

Image: National Grid control centre