Flexr prototype complete with thousands of electricity assets logged

January 26, 2021

ElectraLink is delighted to announce that it has successfully completed the minimum viable product (MVP) for Flexr – the data sharing and standardisation service to coordinate data requirements in the flexibility market and accelerate net zero efforts.

Flexr is an industry first that will enable use cases including data-driven flexibility services by providing a standardised data layer beneath flexibility platforms. This will support the DNOs in managing capacity on their networks and coordinating flexibility on the Low Voltage distribution networks.

Flexr will also occupy a key role in underpinning new services for electric vehicle owners by providing industry stakeholders with near real-time information on network capacity. Going forward, this should enable charge point operators to control the charging of EV fleets without overloading the grid.

The Flexr MVP is comprised of a DER Asset Register, Pathfinder DNO network data integration and the Flexr Portal which provides controlled access point for third parties to access DNO and DER data and prove ownership of DER assets.

The DER Asset Register is linked to all DER data accessible on ElectraLink’s industry dataset currently reflecting capacity and electricity generation and consumption data from almost 5,000 DER assets. These include generators and storage with export capability of over 1MW, and sites with a range of import capabilities over 1MW.

The Pathfinder DNO integration surfaces DNO asset data currently showing 911 transformer substations, 70,000 underground cables and 50,000 overhead lines.

Flexr is a collaboration involving ElectraLink and its DNO shareholders – Northern Powergrid, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Electricity North West, SP Energy Networks, UK Power Networks and Western Power Distribution.

Jim Cardwell, Head of Policy and Development at Northern Powergrid, said: “Flexr could not have come at a more opportune time for electricity network operators as we look to innovate and transform our services to prepare for the net zero deadline. A distributed resources pool across the country is a key driver of change while also being a source of the flexibility required to enable the low carbon transition at least cost. We are thrilled to see a forward-thinking and data-driven solution emerge that supports more use of flexibility across the energy system to benefit customers.”

Following the requirements laid out in the Energy White Paper published last month, we believe Flexr aligns with the government’s ambitions for the UK energy system to gear data and digital infrastructure towards achieving net zero by 2050.

Both BEIS and Ofgem have recognised the significance of a data provision platform to facilitate flexibility in the UK and we are stepping up our engagement with these organisations to maintain Flexr as a needs-driven solution.

Flexr does not operate in a competitive space to provide services such as network optimisation or trading. Flexibility services in the UK are already well-established with many platforms offering flexibility trading, aggregation, optimisation and balancing functions. Instead, Flexr will support the further development of these market services and level the playing field to allow for even greater levels of innovation in the market.

James Johnston, CEO of Piclo, said: “The opportunity for opening up data through Flexr can become an important pillar in the timely and cost-efficient decarbonisation of the GB energy system. We are very keen to engage with Flexr to develop a thriving data sharing eco-system which can be win-win for Piclo.”

Further reading on Flexr

Earlier this year, ElectraLink published responses to the industry consultation on Flexr. These responses were very helpful during the development of the MVP and continues to contribute to what stakeholders would like to see in the future commercial solution.

Late last year, our team demonstrated the Flexr Portal for key stakeholders. The Flexr demo was recorded and the video can be found below.

ElectraLink welcomes engagement on Flexr and can be contacted at flexr@electralink.co.uk.

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