Virtual Energy Store

Balance energy supply & demand at low cost, high flexibility

We use existing assets to time-shift existing electricity demand, providing balancing services to the grid, and reducing energy costs and CO2 emissions.

 

Company Name

Upside Energy Ltd

Reference Number 2087

Market Sectors:

Civil Engineering, Energy, Environment, Manufacturing, Transportation

Operational Areas

Environment, Manufacturing & Production
 

Commercial Solutions

Improve the Environment
Increase Efficiency
Reduce Cost
 

Speed to Market

Immediate
 

Background

National Grid must continuously balance the grid, ensuring the supply of electricity matches demand. To do this, it despatches a range of generation capacity. This is expensive, and growth of renewable generation (which cannot always be despatched to order) makes it increasingly difficult.

National Grid currently spends £850m p.a. on services to maintain this balance, many of them delivered by operating traditional fossil‐fuel generation at reduced capacity. This is inefficient, and thus both expensive and responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions.

Likewise, Distribution Network Operators must install and maintain sufficient capacity to meet peaks in demand, even though these peaks may only be experienced for rare, short periods. Thus they must invest significant capital in rarely used capacity.

Similarly, energy suppliers must predict demand for each settlement period, and contract for just enough supply to meet this demand. Errors in their predictions (either way: over- or under-estimating demand) result in significant imbalance payments.

At the same time, many households and small businesses own assets, which could help address these imbalance issues, but which are currently under-utilised, reducing the returns they get on their assets.

About the Technology

Upside Energy is developing a cloud service that coordinates energy stored in uninterruptible power supplies, solar PV systems, electric vehicles, domestic heating systems, etc. This creates a "virtual energy store" which enables us to sell a range of balancing services to grid and distribution network operators and energy suppliers, starting with frequency regulation services to National Grid. We then redistribute 75% of our revenue back to the original equipment owners.

This creates the following benefits:

1) As we are simply using existing assets to time-shift existing demand, we are effectively a zero marginal cost provider of balancing services to the grid, helping reduce the overall cost of balancing

2) We provide additional revenue streams to the owners of UPS, PV arrays, EVs, etc. This enhances their return from their assets, and in some cases (e.g. with PV arrays) makes it economically viable for them to buy additional storage capacity

3) By increasing the return on such assets, we grow the market for them and their supporting maintenance services, giving manufacturers a strong incentive to sell our service

4) Our solution is low cost – it is a software‑only service.

Everyone wins. People pay less for their energy. CO2 emissions are reduced. And the grid runs more reliably and cheaply.

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