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The murky world of flexibility platforms

The word ‘platform’ is one of the biggest energy business buzz words of the 21st century. Across the energy industry everyone has been talking about them, developing them (or being told they need to develop one) and the demand side flexibility space is no exception to this. But what do we even mean by ‘platform’? Do all these flexibility platforms do the same thing? And if not, how do they fit together?

In the last few months, the Flexibility Research team has been looking in depth at the murky world of platforms to answer these questions. There’s been no simple answers, but through discussions with contacts across the sector we’ve developed a framework of four types of platforms and their capabilities. Whilst it’s still early stages, there are examples of each of these platforms interacting with each other to cover the full demand side flexibility value chain.

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The Business of Being an Aggregator

We’re at a tipping point in how electricity systems are balanced. Traditionally, supply and demand have been matched by turning large power plants up and down, with the occasional very large industrial customer, like a steel works, containing its demand to help balance the system. But over the last ten years we’ve seen a new breed of businesses – aggregators – bringing together hundreds and thousands of distributed assets to help the electricity systems stay balanced.

We’ve seen more and more aggregators emerging as markets have opened to distributed portfolios, with more than 70 appearing across Europe. Delta-ee Director Jon Slowe suggests “we are past the tipping point of this being a distinct sector in the energy market and there will be lots more action and development over the next years”.

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Delta-ee Bloggers

Andy Bradley
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Jan Hughes
98 posts
Stephen Harkin
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Jon Slowe
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Lindsay Sugden
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Steven Ashurst
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John Murray
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Nigel Timperley
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Arthur Jouannic
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