What is a Neutral Market Facilitator (NMF)

A transparent, neutral market for flexibility services will allow GB to fully utilise flexibility whilst realising the physical, locational, and economic constraints of the networks on which these services will be transacted.

A Neutral Market Facilitator (NMF) is an IT platform that will in many cases automate the processes required around the procuring of flexibility services and will be connected to a number of other systems such as Forecasting and Power System Analysis tools.

The NMF being used for the TRANSITION flexibility market trials has been developed to be transparent and non-discriminatory and has a key role in establishing markets and the ability to improve coordination across different markets.

The TRANSITION NMF developed with our partners Opus One is where participants in our trials will;

  • find requests for flexibility services
  • submit responses to requests for flexibility services
  • find if your response has been accepted or not
  • find the instruction to deliver a flexibility service
  • provide updates or changes to their asset availability
  • find other instructions from the DNO/DSO
  • share data to verify your delivery of a flexibility service

In future will there be one single NMF that will be used for all flexibility service procurement across the UK?

The number of potential different NMFs that will be used across the UK to support flexibility markets  varies from one single NMF used by everyone (called a Central Market model with a GB focus), through to a number of separate NMFs.

If a single NMF approach is not the option taken, then the multiple separate NMFs may perhaps be limited to those with boundaries matching the different network operator (ESO, DNO/DSO) areas (called a Local Market model). Or different NMFs may be developed more on a commercial basis and operate across geographic network boundaries – these could support local markets or a distributed market with a differentiated focus (called a Commercial Market model).

TRANSITION is providing valuable insights to support decisions to inform the development of both the NMF and Distributed Network Operations including;

  • the role of the NMF and will provide an evidential base that can be used to inform the decision as to who could fulfil the requirement for delivering this
  • the extent to which the NMF should be independent of market participants and any consequences if the NMF can also transact for services
  • whether all market participants should have unrestricted access to all NMFs under every market model and whether this affects the level of flexibility available or the delivery of services.
  • how the role and scope of the DSO varies under each market model.
  • the level and type of interaction between the DSO and the Energy System Operator and whether the DSO is the route to market for all other market participants and, if so, whether such a step should be temporary or permanent.