The UK is embracing a low-carbon energy future. Recent investment in renewables such as solar and wind energy has driven our net carbon emissions down to Victorian levels, and there’s more work to do.
But renewable energy depends on unpredictable British weather. When the wind blows and the sun shines grid electricity is cheap, clean, and plentiful. However, on calm winter evenings the same electricity can cost many times more to supply.
At the same time, moving away from fossil fuels like petrol and gas is increasing demand for electricity: electric cars and heat pumps are both becoming more widespread. All of this is putting pressure on our energy infrastructure.
The opportunity: domestic flexibility
Domestic energy users are at the heart of our mission.
There are millions of devices scattered across the UK in people homes that are inherently flexible: heating systems click on and click off to keep houses comfortable; cars only need charging some of the time; storage batteries choose when to charge and when to discharge.
Our platform makes it easy for people to use what they’ve got to keep the grid in balance, lowering their own energy bills and speeding up the adoption of low-carbon technologies: win-win.
Our software and integrations
Our software platform integrates a wide range of energy technologies and manages them in real time, reacting to grid conditions to increase or reduce electricity consumption or generation. In this way we act like a “real” power plant. Traditional gas turbines crank up and down according to live energy supply and demand data, which helps keep the grid in balance. We do the same thing, but with lots of small domestic devices scattered across the country. This is why we call our platform a Virtual Power Plant (VPP).
Our VPP is currently integrated with two popular electric vehicle charge points, a well-known battery storage technology, and most brands of heat pump.
We have shown the power of our VPP in the FRED trial. We worked with five organisations and over two hundred customers to show that direct financial savings of 25–45% can be realised with smart charging, and that our technology can reduce the carbon footprint of EV charging by over 20% without negatively impacting the consumer experience.