VES - Connectivity
Crowdflex
National Grid ESO awarded funding to establish domestic flexibility as a reliable energy and grid management resource

Building upon two pioneering projects (CrowdFlex: NIA and the Domestic Reserve Scarcity Trail); CrowdFlex: SIF will clarify the role domestic flexibility can play in addressing the system challenge of decarbonisation.

As more renewable generation is added to the network, it will become increasingly difficult to balance supply and demand. Domestic flexibility provides a huge opportunity during this energy transition to build a smart flexible energy system by enabling consumers to act as a new source of flexibility on the network.

CrowdFlex explores how domestic flexibility can be used in grid operations to help align demand to generation, improve coordination across the network, reduce stress on the system, while empowering consumers to be active players in reducing their energy bills via new tariffs and incentives.

Three key objectives of CrowdFlex are:

  1. to understand and align ESO and DNO requirements for domestic flexibility services and develop commercial frameworks suitable for the statistical nature of flexibility

  2. to identify the technology capability and consumer behaviour parameters to explore in a future large scale consumer trial

  3. to understand how the statistical nature of flexibility can be developed into reliable modelling of domestic demand and flexibility

Together these objectives aim to establish domestic flexibility as a reliable energy and grid management resource.

Dr Nina Klein, National Grid ESO said:

Right now, domestic flexibility is largely untapped due to limited knowledge on consumer behaviour and challenges in the existing market and regulatory landscape.  

The CrowdFlex project will advance our understanding of this emerging source of flexibility, helping us explore ways to deploy domestic flexibility for the benefit of both the energy system and electricity consumers.

Virtual energy system - Crowdflex

Watch our video introduction to CrowdFlex

National Grid ESO, is excited to be undertaking this project with our partners: Octopus Energy, Ohme, Element Energy, WPD and 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.

Watch our CrowdFlex introduction video

Benefits

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.

national grid eso residential demand

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.

Technology reflecting

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.

national grid eso system flexibility

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.

National Grid ESO - ERSG - People working in modern office

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.

ENA project page

CrowdFlex: Discovery summary on the energy networks association.