Gateshead Council: Award-winning district energy scheme partners with Flexitricity to access the lucrative Balancing Mechanism

Energy Partner:Gateshead Council
Asset Type:Combined heat and power (CHP)
Participation:Energy supply, Balancing Mechanism, Capacity Market
Capacity:4MW / on average around 2MW of flexibility

“For us as a publicly owned energy company the process of working with Flexitricity has been seamless. We’ve been supported every step of the way. Their professionalism and relatability have been second to none.” 

Jim Gillon, Energy Services Manager at Gateshead Council

Gateshead District Energy Scheme is a low-carbon energy centre owned by Gateshead Council, and operated by Gateshead Energy Company, which provides low-cost heat and power to homes, organisations and businesses in the urban core of Gateshead.

Gateshead District Energy Scheme incorporates elements that go beyond the traditional heat network, including a private wire network to supply high voltage electricity to customers, on-site heat storage and electricity storage via a large battery. It is the full integration of heat and power generation, and heat and power storage which sets the scheme apart from others. In 2017, the energy scheme won the Association for Decentralised Energy's Visionary Project of the Decade award.

Flexitricity services

In 2017, Gateshead Energy Company started working with Flexitricity to ensure business objectives were being met in the most energy efficient way possible. 

Flexitricity’s role is to identify flexibility within the scheme’s site and make that flexibility available to National Grid at the right time and the right price, maximising revenue for the site. 

We operate a 24/7 control room in our Edinburgh headquarters, which is connected to Gateshead’s combined heat and power (CHP) engines via a remote outstation allowing our expert operations team to automatically stop and start the engines when we receive a signal from National Grid.

Flexitricity has always been at the forefront of the industry and we've made it our mission to ensure our customers have access to the most lucrative energy market opportunities. The Balancing Mechanism (BM) is one of the most important tools which National Grid uses to balance electricity supply and demand in real-time. Historically the BM has been dominated by large energy suppliers. At Flexitricity we believed that it should be open to all businesses across Britain. That's why we embarked on a journey to open up this market for our customers and in 2018, Flexitricity and Gateshead Energy Company made history by introducing the first behind-the-meter generation asset into the Balancing Mechanism.

Customer benefits

When public bodies like Gateshead Council unlock revenue streams from working with Flexitricity, more energy schemes are able to become commercially viable in the future. This is both good for business and good for the wider community that benefits from low-cost, low-carbon energy.

Jim Gillon, Energy Services Manager at Gateshead Council, believes that working with Flexitricity has brought benefits for both the local authority and the wider community.

“The main challenges in the industry are around price volatility so we need ways to make our business plan more resilient and that’s where grid services come in, extra income streams diversifies the way we can generate revenue and that makes our business case much more stable."

Next steps

Gateshead Council is expanding their heat network and is exploring additional wholesale market trading opportunities. They are also looking at connecting new assets, including a new CHP engine, office buildings and EV charging stations.

All performance claims made within this testimonial, both technical and financial, were true at time of writing. Claims relating to past performance of certain asset classes do not represent a guarantee of future results for assets in the same class or other asset types

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