CEPS Energy Climate House held a Task Force on "Improving the Market for Flexibility in the Electricity Sector". Flexibility is necessary to ensure that demand and supply can be matched at every given point in time to keep the electricity system stable. Flexibility in the electricity sector can therefore be described as the capability to dynamically compensate supply peaks and shortages as well as bottlenecks in the grid. The higher the share of intermittent renewables, the more flexible resources are needed.
Flexible resources can include flexibility in demand (e.g. power-to-heat, demand response or interruptible loads, facilitated by digital infrastructure) and in supply (e.g. hydro, gas or certain coal plants) as well as storage (e.g. pumped storage, batteries and other storage technologies). Flexible infrastructure can include transmission and distribution capacity as well as information and communication technology (ICT, e.g. smart meters).
Adequate functioning of the electricity markets and notably a market for flexibility would facilitate market-driven investment as well as efficient utilisation of flexible resources and infrastructure. In light of the electricity market reform launched in the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, this CEPS Task Force seeks to bring together all stakeholders to discuss a ‘market for flexibility’ to identify workable and practical ways forward.
Different pathways to a more flexible electricity sector were explored during the Task Force discussions.