Distribution network operator UK Power Networks has launched 850MW of flexible electricity, its largest ever, on the market.

This will be open to bidders in London, the East as well as the South East of England.

The tender, released concurrently on the Piclo platform and a launch webinar, will include demand turn-up and demand reduction across 452 zones. This is sufficient to meet the needs of almost half a million homes.

Opportunities from the tender include a few hours of flexible provision per year, starting with 10kW per zone.

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The network operator is said to have led flexibility at distribution in the country since launching its first tender in 2019, for 95MW. It has also awarded contracts to 38 companies to provide for around 2GW of flexibility up to 2028.

This tender is specifically for flexible providers such as energy storage operators and renewable energy plants and generators.

The offer can bring new revenue streams for those companies while ensuring the local power distribution system is not overloaded and clean energy is emphasised, stated the operator.

UK Power Networks distribution system operator flexibility markets head Alex Howard said: “We have been offering flexibility opportunities for several years now but this latest tender round is our biggest. It demonstrates how we are opening our networks through the use of technology and data.

“We need flexible assets on our network to cut costs for our customers and maximise the generation of renewable energy options, which are so crucial for helping us achieve Net Zero.”

Flexibility helps adjust power outputs between renewable energy projects such as wind turbines and batteries, and energy users who agree to be supplied with energy during peak times benefit financially.

This system offers a low-cost alternative to provide for extra energy demand without the need for a long-term upgrade to infrastructure.

It can also ensure that enough power is available to meet growing demand from electric vehicles and heat pumps.