The distribution network operator says by increasing flexibility, it can provide lower electricity distribution costs, provide new revenue opportunities and build a stronger network for its 8.2 million electricity customers across the country.
Traditionally, adding additional capacity to the grid has required new cables and substations to be installed, often requiring significant amounts of capital to do so and meaning infrastructure has to be shut down for the duration of the work.
UKPN believes flexible services such as those that can be provided from battery storage and smart technology can provide a cost-effective alternative, able to help reduce electricity demand during peak times and ease more renewables into the energy mix.
By 2023, UKPN estimates its could have more than 200MW of flexible capacity, which would be able to reduce peak demand for electricity on the distribution network by the equivalent of approximately 130,000 homes.
It says it will market test the viability of such flexibility services, ahead of traditional reinforcement designed to meet the growth in demand until 2023, to see how suitable they are to respond to “the changing, decentralised, decarbonised and digitised energy landscape”.
Barry Hatton, Director of Asset Management at UK Power Networks, said: “The Flexibility Roadmap proposes a radical rethink to the way we do business, moving away from automatically building new assets and instead giving the distributed energy resources market the opportunity to offer their services.”