What is Flexibility?

Smart, Flexible energy system core to delivering Net Zero

A smart and flexible energy system is critical for delivering net zero. Flexibility is needed to allow grid balancing that ensures supply meets demand. A cleaner network needs more flexibility as it will experience greater intermittency of supply, from generation such as wind and solar and greater demand for electricity, for example from electric vehicles and electrical heating systems. 

Some key terms
  • Flexibility is the ability to shift the time or location of when energy is used or generated.
  • Smart means the ability to turn on or off a device in response to real time communication signals. 
  • A smart and flexible system is one which uses smart technologies to provide flexibility to the system, to balance supply and demand and manage constraints on the network. 

Benefits of flexibility for businesses

Being flexible has many benefits for businesses.

  • Flexibility for cost saving, also known as price arbitrage, involves shifting when you use energy to avoid peak charging periods / red band periods to save money. These savings are retained by our users.
  • Flexibility for carbon saving, also known as carbon arbitrage, involves shifting when you use energy to avoid periods of high network energy demand as these periods are typically supplied by fossil fuel generation. We can also identify these periods of high network carbon through our API integration with ESO carbon intensity data. Shifting load in this way helps our users meet their carbon emission objectives.
  • Flexibility for financial reward. Businesses are paid by the ESO or Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) to turn up or down how much energy they use to help balance the grid. Gridimp trades in these markets on behalf of our clients, selling and providing payments back to our clients.  


Who decides when flexibility is needed and how much is paid?

The process for deciding when and how much flexibility is needed and the price that will be paid for flexibility is managed by network operators through a series of flexibility markets, overseen by Ofgem.