UK Power Networks has contracted 18.2MW of grid balancing services in London and South East England, after holding one of the UK’s first major auctions to provide power flexibility through the use of battery storage, demand-side-response, and behind-the-meter generation technologies. The distribution network operator is the UK’s first to commit to a ‘Flexibility First’ approach aimed at more efficiently using generated energy as increasing levels of intermittent renewable power sources come on to the grid. The hope is that the approach can provide additional power capacity at lower cost and with lower emissions than compared to the traditional approach of building more power plants for grid reinforcement. After first announcing the auction in May, UK Power Networks announced late last week that it has now agreed contracts collectively worth £450,000 with four companies: Moixa, AMP Clean Energy, Limejump and Powervault. UK Power Networks teamed up with Piclo to identify areas best suited for provision of flexibility services, using the software designer’s smart energy platform to provide a “heat-map” for areas of network congestion and link them with grid flexibility service providers.