This May, the National Grid Electricity System Operator (NG ESO) launched its Optional Downward Flexibility Management (ODFM) service as a temporary solution to help them manage the unprecedented drop in electricity demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During periods of low demand, various renewable generators received compensation to turn off their generation, and certain large consumers were paid to increase consumption.
Downing’s Energy and Infrastructure Asset Management team made c.60MW of solar capacity available to NG ESO for the ODFM service by registering nine ground-mounted solar sites capable of remote turn-down. A selection of these sites were curtailed by NG ESO over a three day period during summer 2020 thanks to the co-operation and expertise of the Downing Asset Management team.
NG ESO recently commented, "As a curtailment/demand turn up service, there is lots of learning we have gained from ODFM which we will take forward to meet our system needs for both negative reserve and whole system constraint management for future ancillary service development.”
Head of Downing’s Asset Management, Tom Moore, adds: “The ODFM service proved to be a successful operation from both a demand and supply perspective, ultimately increasing returns to our investors. In anticipation of National Grid requiring more support from Power Plant Producers to balance the grid going forward, this scheme complimented our ongoing Asset Grid Management Program that will continue to increase our ability to take advantage of similar opportunities in the future.”
The NG ESO ended the ODFM service on 25 October 2020 as a result of increased grid stability since the first lockdown and electricity generation, demand and prices returning to normal levels. During the duration of the service, over 4.7GW of volume from 363 units signed up and it was dispatched on five different occasions.