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Western Power Distribution (WPD), in partnership with AMT-SYBEX, has been awarded funding from Ofgem to support the use of flexibility services on distribution networks.

Up to £2.9m of innovation funding will be awarded by Ofgem, as part of the Electricity Network Innovation Competition, to develop an Electricity Flexibility and Forecasting System (EFFS). The EFFS project will support DSO transition by specifying, developing and trialling software to plan and despatch flexibility services in operational timescales.

EFFS will create learning around the establishment of a new network interface tool, which will include algorithms to calculate improved network capacity forecasts in order to facilitate the procurement of flexibility. This software will support the evolution of DSO roles by building capabilities to support the development of any models for accessing flexibility.

Jenny Woodruff, Innovation and Low Carbon engineer at WPD, said: “EFFS is going to be an important piece in our DSO transition puzzle equipping us to perform the new functions of a DSO. Like a jigsaw piece it will link to other important elements including the Open Networks project, which is defining the details of the DSO interactions, existing WPD projects for flexibility services and new projects by other DNOs.”

John Hayling, Lead Consultant at AMT-SYBEX, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by WPD as part of this process. The EFFS project will deliver a practical system that will enable a DNO to actively manage the provision of flexibility services available either directly or via an aggregator or supplier, such as EDF Energy, operating within its area.”

This capability will enable the deferment of traditional reinforcement, allowing the use of flexibility in fault restoration and enabling power supplies to be restored more quickly. It will reduce the time necessary to connect new renewable sources of energy to the network and it will also help to reduce national balancing costs by managing conflicts with the Transmission System Operator, National Grid.

John Hayling, continued: “AMT-SYBEX will be responsible for developing the system and for the overall project management including delivery. This will build upon our Affinity Networkflow solution that was deployed by UK Power Networks to optimise the Smarter Networks Storage project. We look forward to developing the Networkflow solution to enable the delivery of flexibility services for WPD.”