The National Grid is looking for large energy users which could provide back-up energy reserves over the next two winters.
The grid operator wants their help with two new electricity balancing services in 2014/15 and 2015/16.
It wants to sign up major energy users who would be willing to lower their energy demand or run other sources of generation between 4pm and 8pm on winter weekdays in return for a payment. This scheme is called the Demand Side Balancing Reserve (DSBR).
A second, called the Supplemental Balancing Reserve (SBR), would be a contract for energy reserves from power plants that would otherwise be closed or mothballed. This would need to be available on winter weekdays between 6am and 8pm.
Though National Grid has been quick to deny there is any shortage of reserves over the next few years, this suggests they want to make sure
In a statement today the firm said these services will provide an “additional consumer safeguard”.
It said the two new services will only be used as a “last resort” in the “extreme and unlikely circumstances” the UK doesn’t have enough power available in the market to meet demand.
Peter Bingham from National Grid’s Electricity Market Reform project said: “The kind of volumes that may be required will become clearer once we’ve been able to look at this winter’s demand more closely and considered the latest outlook for generation.
“If we identify a requirement for these services for next winter, we will look to tender for these services in the spring and the surveys will help inform that process.”
Any interested parties should fill out a survey and return it to National Grid by 21 March 2014.