This article was written on MAY 14, 2020 BY BRENDAN COYNE for the Energyst.
Flexibility marketplace provider Piclo has signed terms for its first international trial.
The company to date has specialised in working with distribution network operators (DNOs) to enable them to find flexible assets in the right postcodes in a bid to manage constraints.
However, it will now work with a consortium led by Eles, Slovenia’s transmission system operator (TSO), plus three DNOs and energy supplier Gen-i.
Piclo CEO, James Johnston, said the trial aims to enhance visibility, co-ordination and procurement of flexibility for TSO and DSOs.
As with all marketplaces, he said bringing local flexibility providers to the platform will be key to success.
“Without flex providers, you do not have a marketplace … we need to build a liquid market,” said Johnston.
Slovenia’s location means it acts as an interconnector and trading hub between Northern and Southern Europe. The country has ambitious decarbonisation goals – and is keen to develop a truly smart grid, according to Eles director of strategic innovation, Uroš Salobir.
Speaking at a Piclo-hosted digital conference, Salobir said cross border energy trading in Slovenia “almost equals local consumption” by volume, with “huge price differences” between adjacent markets.
He said the state has been involved in “extreme amounts” of demonstrator projects over the past decade, including a number of Horizon2020 funded projects.
“These were guided into very strong collaborations between TSO and DSOs from the outset – not just around flexibility but problem solving and seeking advanced, more efficient infrastructure that could replace traditional infrastructure,” said Salobir.
“It got to a point where we realised we had to bring all of these demonstrations together into something commercially viable,” he added.
The consortium is therefore keen to ensure the Piclo trial becomes a commercial development, not just another demonstrator.
The aim is to define market parameters, methods and planning on the DSO side, said Salobir, “because without all of these elements we will not achieve our final goal – and that is what has been missing from all of these pilots to date.”
Flexibility, he said, “now has high attention, so the timing is right; not only for Slovenia, but for other member states”.