ESO secures funding for next phase of CrowdFlex project

The ESO has been awarded funding for the beta phase of the CrowdFlex project, which looks to understand consumer demand and domestic flexibility to demonstrate the benefits of the Virtual Energy System and will build interconnected models of consumer demand and flexibility. This large-scale demonstrator will utilise data gathered from trials based on two kinds of domestic flexibility services:

  • Utilisation payments: Consumers will be paid to turn-up or turn-down demand as part of a scheduled service that examines how domestic flexibility can contribute to the management of system constraints.
  • Availability payments: Consumers will be paid a regular fixed payment to make their assets available (e.g., to plug in their EVs). 

CrowdFlex will enable ESO's Control Room to better understand and utilise domestic flexibility as a resource in future. As well as the models, data from the trials will also be used to generate consumer understanding and help develop go-to-market strategies for flexibility service providers. 

CrowdFlex will therefore provide a crucial step in establishing domestic flexibility as a reliable energy and grid management resource. Domestic flexibility will help consumers to reduce their energy costs and enable the energy industry to meet its ambitious decarbonisation goals.

Latest news

CrowdFlex wins OFGEM funding for domestic flexibility

National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) have been awarded a second grant from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) as part of a wider project that looks to understand how domestic flexibility can be used to help manage the grid. 

CrowdFlex NIA

The original CrowdFlex study. A joint project by National Grid ESO, SSEN, Octopus Energy and Ohme. The project conducted analysis of customer energy use patterns to demonstrate how they might change their behaviour.

Domestic Reserve Scarcity Trail

– A pioneering real-time trial to find out if moving home energy demand out of peak times can support balancing the power grid and reduce costs.

Watch our introduction to CrowdFlex beta

National Grid ESO, is excited to be undertaking this project with our partners: Octopus Energy, OVO Energy, Ohme Technology, Element Energy, Centre for Net Zero, National Grid Electricity Distribution (NGED) and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution.

The Crowdflex project is funded by energy network users and consumers through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), a programme from the UK’s independent energy regulator Ofgem managed in partnership with UKRI. It aims to find and fund ambitious, innovative projects with the potential to accelerate the transition to net zero.


ENA Project Page

Here you can find useful summary information on the Energy Networks Association (ENA) website.


The learnings from Crowdflex could deliver multiple benefits, such as:

  • Lowering customer bills
  • Reducing the costs of grid balancing and network reinforcement
  • Enabling greater market participation on the demand side
  • Increasing the use of renewable generation and lowering carbon emissions

Useful information and related projects

Virtual Energy System

CrowdFlex will provide data to inform the Virtual Energy System (VirtualES), an ambitious, industry-wide mission to digitise our energy system.

System Flexibility

Flexibility is crucial to operating the whole energy system where the supply and demand of energy needs to be balanced over different timescales. Read more about whole energy system flexibility in our Future Energy Scenarios.

Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)

The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is a funding mechanism for the Electricity System Operator, Electricity Transmission, Gas Transmission and Gas Distribution sectors.