Mar 2019
Electricity Distribution
Enhancing Energy Flexibility from Wastewater Catchments through a Whole System Approach
Mar 2019
Sep 2020
National Grid Electricity System Operator
Adam Simms
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Network Innovation Allowance
ED - Network improvements and system operability
Demand Response
With increasing deployment of variable, non-synchronous generation and the closure of conventional dispatchable generation, the GB electricity system is becoming more inflexible. Additional sources of flexibility are required to help operate the system.

National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) is exploring new ways to procure additional flexibility, including exploring the potential for flexibility from the demand side. The Power Responsive programme, which brings together stakeholders from a range of UK sectors, identified potential for additional demand-side flexibility from the water sector.

Water systems are built with headroom to protect against rare weather events such as storms, floods and droughts, and it is this ‘system headroom’ which could be used to provide additional flexibility services. However, it is unclear how large these system-wide opportunities from the water sector are, where they are, how to access them and whether there is a sufficiently strong business case to justify the necessary investment in new technology and processes. The research hypothesis of this project is that providing demand side flexibility through controlling a whole water system is more cost-effective than focussing on a single asset or process.
The objectives of this project are:
  • to assess the technical potential for demand-side flexibility within a single waste water catchment area when operating all assets as part of a wider system
  • to identify technical enhancements needed to operate individual assets as part of a wider system
  • to assess the business case for providing flexibility services via this systemic method of operating assets within a waste water catchment area
  • to support dissemination of any learning to water utilities, as well as other networks, to encourage deployment of this technology across GB if the project demonstrates technical and commercial feasibility