System operator to launch new ‘footroom’ product on 7 May to manage low demand periods

National Grid ESO has published draft specifications for a new ‘footroom’ product to help it manage the system during periods of very low demand. ‘Optional Downward Flexibility Management’ will pay providers to increase demand or reduce generation. so that NGESO has enough generating assets in operation to provide maintain frequency and voltage control.

Low demand periods have become more frequent and resulted in record-low demand since the Covid-19 lockdown began and businesses have been shuttered. Demand may fall further as summer approaches, because more users will take supply from onsite PV instead of from the grid. When demand is low NGESO brings on extra plant where necessary to help maintain supply quality and it requires other plant to turn down or users to increase demand to compensate. It has already called on assets that have so-called ‘SuperSEL’ (stable export limits) contracts, who can offer stability services at extremely low levels of generation, and asked industry members to come forward if they have this type of flexibility.

The system operator says providers of the new service must be able to turn up demand or curtail generation in tranches of 1MW and be able to do so for a period of three hours. Crucially, they must be able to do so on bank holidays and weekends, when supply is most likely to exceed demand. Assets cannot participate if they are already providing services in the Balancing Market, holding ‘active network management’ arrangements with the local DNO or participating in other flexibility markets. They have to be able to respond to an email notification that they are being called on, including on non-working days.

The service will be procured on a weekly basis: participants will submit asset data on Wednesdays, and availability and pricing details on Thursday, for the seven days from Friday. NGESO aims to finalise terms by the end of this week (1 May) and the service will go live on 7 May.

See details here

Further reading

Power generators asked ‘how low can you go?’ as NGESO seeks services to manage depressed demand

From the fax to the future: the system operator needs to take a big leap

System Operator seeks new options to manage low demand: negative capacity reserve and accessing distribution assets ‘on the table’