National Grid ESO brings new opportunities by widening access to the Balancing Mechanism

3rd February 2020

On 11th December 2019, National Grid launched its’ Wider Access initiative, allowing a wider range of participants to access the Balancing Mechanism (BM), as set out in BSC Modification P344. These changes allow for Virtual Lead Parties (VLPs) to provide balancing services without a supply licence, co-ordinating demand side response offers from consumers and managing output from small-scale generators and electricity storage. In addition, National Grid are working to make this process as simple as possible by investing in IT software systems as opposed to physically installing communications hardware to access the BM.

The introduction of Wider Access sees a lowered minimum threshold to participate in the BM, from 100MW to 1MW, allowing smaller and aggregated units to provide power to the grid. In doing so, Elexon and NG ESO aim to establish a smarter, more flexible trading environment.

The Wider Access initiative builds on ELEXON’s work with Project TERRE from early 2019, in which Elexon opened the market entry process for VLPs to start registering secondary BM units to participate in the BM and eventually TERRE. It also allows additional BM units registered through the supplier process to be dispatched using the Wider Access communication protocols (APIs).

This change creates a platform for more radical changes to how electricity supply and demand can be met in the near future, by helping to unlock initiatives that increase efficiency and can deliver against ‘net-zero’ targets. As indicated by National Grid’s head of commercial, Richard Smith, this initiative is key to being able to operate carbon free in the near future, as newer providers and technologies can now be incorporated into the balancing mechanism, such as energy storage or solar power.

If you would like to know more about Wider Access or Project TERRE , follow the corresponding links or contact us here.

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