Flexibility Markets Unlocked: Arup, Electron, and Energy Systems Catapult partner on feasibility study

Global sustainable development consultancy Arup, in partnership with Energy Systems Catapult and Electron, have been successful in securing funding from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, to carry out a feasibility study assessing the development of innovative technical solutions to facilitate system-wide integration of multiple flexibility markets.

Funded through the Flexibility Markets Unlocked programme, the study aims to evaluate the possibility of creating a technical process and a defined set of open protocols to enable distributed energy resources (DER) to better provide large-scale electricity system flexibility through smart, accessible technologies and markets. The funding has been made available through the Flexibility Innovation Programme, which is part of the government’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP).

Simon Evans, Global Digital Energy Leader, Arup, commented: “Arup has a passion for transformative digital solutions and can demonstrate this through our previous work on the Digital Spine Feasibility Study and strong knowledge of work carried out on flexibility markets to date. By partnering with Energy Systems Catapult and Electron, we are able to bring on board considerable SME and practical expertise allowing us to provide a strong, holistic view and continue to provide strategic influence on the future of the UK energy sector.”

The programme will also support the design of technical solutions that can enable data standardisation, and revenue stacking across multiple flexibility markets, allowing a more diverse and competitive marketplace.

This will help realise the flexibility benefits that exist from Low Carbon Technologies (LCTs) to reduce system costs while also enabling and encouraging commercial interoperability.

These measures will pave the way for seamless integrations between buyers and sellers across multiple markets, products, and platforms, preventing vendor lock-ins and siloed operations while consolidating existing flexibility market developments.

Jo-Jo Hubbard, Chief Executive Officer at Electron, said: “Boosting participation in flexibility markets is key to the energy industry’s future. This study really demonstrates the need for standardised processes, more transparency, and better access to the necessary data to influence flexibility market trading going forward. Its proposed open ecosystem of services and platforms will incentivise participation in flex markets, lower system costs, and increase revenue stacking opportunities for flex providers – and we’ll bring this to life through our neutral flexibility market platform, ElectronConnect.  We’re excited to partner with both Arup and Energy Systems Catapult to support this digital ecosystem.”

Dr Richard Dobson, Digital Business Leader, Energy Systems Catapult, said: “Energy Systems Catapult is committed to ensuring the right shared digital infrastructure is in place to accelerate the energy transition as outlined in the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce. We are excited to be working with Arup and Electron, building on the outcomes of the Digital Spine Feasibility Study and Automatic Asset Registration project to develop another important piece of shared digital infrastructure that will help deliver a pro innovation, net zero energy system.”

The programme will enable the facilitation of a smart, flexible electricity system underpinned by data and digitalisation. In turn, this will drive wider use of smart technologies, utilising low carbon energy and intermittent generation sources, such as solar and wind, and help contribute to meeting the target of Net Zero by 2050.

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