With the Interflex project in The Netherlands, we have the unique opportunity to evaluate one of the instruments that can provide a DSO with flexibility.

At Enexis we discern different instruments providing flexibility, which can be categorized as follows:

  • Rule-based solutions; A DSO directly controls energy sources based on rules in network codes and regulations.
  • Market based solutions; A DSO purchases flexibility from flexibility providers driven by competition.
  • DSO tariff solutions including capacity contracting; Tariff structures aim to stimulate network users to adapt their usage/generation patterns to efficient network usage.
  • Technical solutions, including network configuration and storage.

There are mainly two market based solutions: open market platforms and long-term bilateral contracts. The flexibility market, as implemented in the Dutch Interflex project, uses an open market platform where the DSO trades with commercial parties to provide flexibility.

The market approach implies that the DSO has to compete with other parties that request flexibility in the electric power system. Next to this open market platform, Enexis also experiments with long-term bilateral contracts. For this solution we make a call to generators and/or consumers in a specific area to provide flexibility offering on a long-term contract for flexibility services. This solution avoids the uncertainty related to market trading.

By testing different options in practice, we learn in which way flexibility can be unlocked for different situations in The Netherlands. Additionally, the experiments spur the development of tooling. For example, the lessons learnt from building a grid management system for Interflex are being applied to an improved version  and used for the experiments with bilateral contracts.

Good to know: Several aspects of the systems implemented in the Dutch Interflex project were presented at CIRED 2019. Please get in touch if you want to learn more.