Britain’s biggest electricity distributor – UK Power Networks – has partnered with software company Open Utility to develop and pilot an online marketplace for flexible electricity supply that will enable more low carbon energy into people’s homes at lower cost.
The new Piclo platform is another step towards the creation of a smart-grid for all and builds on the expertise the network gained from its pioneering Flexibility service tender launched last year.
Backed by UK Government funding from the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, Piclo simplifies the procurement process and opens up access to the growing community of flexibility providers – including aggregators, energy suppliers and distributed energy resources – effectively creating a new marketplace for local flexibility trading.
For the first time in the UK, Piclo allows consumers and generators to buy and sell renewable energy.
The new platform will help open up new markets for a wide range of flexibility providers by making it easier for them to sell their services to help networks manage times of peak demand.
The Piclo platform was pioneered by ex-pat Scots energy entrepreneur James Johnston, who is now chief executive of Open Utility.
He said: “We are incredibly excited to work with UK Power Networks. Following backing from BEIS, it is a hugely important milestone to sign up our first Distribution System Operator. We look forward to supporting the development of a smart grid in the UK.”
The project aims to digitise UK Power Networks’ procurement process for customer flexibility, streamline the bidding process for service providers and optimise network investment decisions through improved matching of service providers with network needs.
UK Power Networks is moving from its traditional role as a Distribution Network Operator to a Distribution Systems Operator, so that it can enable and support the increase in local generation and rise of new technologies such as BPVs (battery powered vehicles) and battery-based electricity storage.
Last year UK Power Networks ran the UK’s first flexibility services tender which invited expressions of interest from distributed energy operators capable of increasing generation or reducing consumption on request at the 10 locations across the network.
Ian Cameron, Head of Innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “The way we generate, distribute and use energy is changing and the Piclo platform enables us to collaborate with the technology sector and meet consumers demands for ‘connected living’ as a cost-effective alternative to major network infrastructure upgrades.”
- 17 Jan 2018