Technology innovator sparks change for sustainably-minded businesses and energy suppliers.
Many people are aware of the UK government’s commitment to achieving ‘net zero’ CO2 emissions by 2050 but far more pressing is National Grid’s 2025 deadline for a fully decarbonised energy system.
Although just around the corner, achieving this deadline needn’t feel like an insurmountable challenge thanks to the pioneering technology offered by ambitious Irish innovator, GridBeyond.
Decarbonisation is no longer an optional strategy, but a necessity.
Intelligent energy technologies digitalise the electricity network, making it more resilient and greener by enabling increased integration of renewable energy such as wind or solar farms.
GridBeyond provides technology that supports the transition of the network to a zero-carbon model. The company works with large industrial and commercial (I&C) energy consumers, generators, distributors, suppliers, transmission and grid operation networks, to introduce new decarbonisation technologies to the market.
By placing high-end hardware on industrial and commercial sites, GridBeyond connects them to a cloud-based platform called Point, aggregates the data and uses machine-learning technology to manage the participation of large businesses in grid-balancing programmes run by National Grid.
The aim of these programmes is to increase the grid’s flexibility and help National Grid with balancing energy supply and demand at any given moment.
Businesses receive financial incentives for their ability to either increase or decrease their energy usage for a short period of time, and without any impact on their operations. This may be necessary, for example, when due to the unpredictability of the weather, there is not enough renewable wind or solar energy available to meet demand, or an interconnector fails to operate.
Earlier this year, GridBeyond’s platform Point, which serves close to 400 sites in the UK and Ireland, was awarded Frost & Sullivan’s 2019 European Technology Innovation Award.
“GridBeyond’s technology platform helps balance the electricity grid, aids the integration of more renewables, and optimises the plans, designs, and finances of both existing and new plants,” explains Swagath Navin Manohar, Senior Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
“In integrating customers’ storage batteries into its virtual power plants, GridBeyond has formed the world’s first hybrid battery and demand response network. It trades customers’ capacity and the electricity generated in the European energy markets and offers ancillary services to help balance the transmission system.”
As we move towards full decarbonisation, the National Grid will need several times more flexibility than it currently secures.
“Businesses will play a crucial role in developing a decarbonised energy network, and we are keen to develop collaborative transparent partnerships where parties work together for the benefit of the whole industry,” says GridBeyond co-founder and chief executive, Michael Phelan.
“Our platform enables industrial and commercial businesses to increase their energy flexibility by benefitting from new revenues from the grid, as well as asset-level optimisation programmes. This includes benchmarking, production optimisation, fault-finding, predictive maintenance and price optimisation services.”
Their work with Haven Power, one of the largest business electricity suppliers in the UK, is one such example.
Haven Power supplies renewable energy as standard to its customer base, and by using GridBeyond’s technology, their commercial clients can increase their sustainability while boosting profitability and improving operational integrity.
“UK businesses are demanding more from their energy supplier, looking to unlock opportunities, to drive value, and build sustainability programmes,” explains Paul Sheffield, Chief Operating Officer at Haven Power. “Through the energy services we provide and by partnering with GridBeyond we can help them do more and make the energy they need work harder for them.”
The transition of the energy network into a carbon-free, fully digitalised system is not possible without the involvement of large energy users. Their willingness to explore the benefits of the advanced energy technologies, and the speed at which they do that, will decide how quickly the energy economy can become fully decarbonised.