An Innovate UK supported company are looking to ease peak-time pressure on the National Grid. By connecting a range of common devices that store energy, from backup batteries to electric hot water tanks – Upside Energy are using the Internet of Things to balance supply and demand of electricity.
What Does Upside Energy Do?
When you turn a switch on, a power station has to work to give you that energy. This means power stations across the country are constantly increasing and decreasing electricity supply. This is an inefficient approach.
At peak times, the grid can run dangerously short of capacity. To meet demand, it will use its oldest and most expensive power stations. This doesn’t have to be the case.
Upside Energy look at the assets and electrical devices homes and businesses already own. These could be anything that stores energy. They connect these devices using the IoT and switch these on or off at the right times.
This then takes the load off the grid to complement the electricity demand. This is an invaluable resource for grid operators.
The Environmental Impact
By using these devices, Upside Energy allow the grid to integrate more renewable energy into the system. The company are looking for a greener approach which pays people to not use electricity at peak times.
They create a Virtual Energy Store™ which they can then sell to the grid to help balance supply and demand. They share this revenue with device owners and manufacturers.
In time, the company want to build an open platform that people use to coordinate distributed energy storage – using it to reduce the environmental impact of the grid. The National Grid’s analysis claims 600 tonnes of CO2e can be eradicated for every MW of demand-side capacity made available.
How Have Upside Energy Evolved?
“For the first two years or so, we were just playing with the idea. We didn’t really have a company at that stage. When we got our first Innovate UK grant, that allowed us to take on our first member of staff and then from there we’ve grown to that point where we’re now seventeen”.
The most value achieved from the grant was the connections with customers, potential targets and international prospects brought forward by Innovate UK.
National Grid was the company’s first customer and they’re now moving forward working with utility companies too.
“In essence, homes or businesses are our suppliers – so they give us their assets to use at the right times. In turn, we pay them money”.
The company are now looking to grow their team, branch out further across the UK’s grid and globally.
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