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News post

Cornwall Local Energy Market achieves major flexibility breakthrough

Centrica’s Local Energy Market (LEM) celebrates world first as Western Power Distribution and National Grid ESO both procure flexibility through a co-ordinated third-party market mechanism.

A major breakthrough on the path to a more flexible and responsive electricity grid has been reached in Cornwall, as part of Centrica’s ground-breaking Local Energy Market trial.

For the first time anywhere in the world, the local Distribution System Operator (Western Power Distribution) and the Transmission System Operator (National Grid ESO) are both procuring flexibility simultaneously via a single third-party platform - Centrica’s pioneering auction-based marketplace.

The LEM programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and delivered by Centrica Business Solutions, has been operating since 2017, and has seen solar and battery systems installed into 100 homes across Cornwall. In addition, more than 125 Cornish businesses, including Carbis Bay Hotel and Goonhilly Earth Station, have had a range of flexible, low carbon energy technologies and monitoring equipment installed.

The LEM platform seeks to benefit each of these participants, and the grid more widely, by providing a mechanism for the system operators to indicate when they will need an increase or decrease in generation or consumption to balance the grid or manage a local network constraint. These needs can then be met by the homes and businesses on the LEM, in return for a financial reward – creating significant opportunities for energy users who are able to be flexible with their usage or call upon smart energy storage solutions.

Improving grid flexibility benefits everyone from generators to consumers, and these trials represent a major step forward.
Pieter-Jan Mermans Director of Optimisation at Centrica Business Solutions