Gateshead Energy Company (GEC) has become the first small generator in the UK to be able to access the National Grid’s Balancing Mechanism (BM) thanks to a new contract with leading energy firm Flexitricity.
The Balancing Mechanism ensures that power generation matches power consumption across the UK, and National Grid pays a premium to generators who are able to respond within an hour’s notice to increase or decrease generation.
Gateshead Energy Company, which is wholly owned by Gateshead Council, operates the Gateshead District Energy Scheme which serves the town centre with low cost, low carbon heat and power.
The new deal means that as well as generating energy for its local customers, the council-owned company can also now sell its electricity both to the wholesale energy market and, at times of peak demand, to the more lucrative Balancing Mechanism (BM). Energy prices in the wholesale market generally average at around £50/MWh, but the BM can at times reach £2,500/MWh.
Jim Gillon, Energy Services Manager, on behalf of Gateshead Energy Company (GEC), said: “As a publicly owned local heat and power generator, we need to continually look for ways to maintain and support our low-cost energy offer to local customers.
“Our new deal with Flexitricity means we can now provide electricity to the National Grid at times of peak demand when energy commands a much higher price. This is great news for the company as it helps us to both cover our costs more effectively and keep our energy prices low for customers.”