Our new series of blog posts introduces this year’s participants of Japan Energy Challenge. We spoke with David Teare, Business Development Manager at Open Energi, to discuss the role his company can play in the future of Japan’s energy market.
Open Energi manage distributed energy to radically reduce electricity costs and provide flexible capacity to enable a 100% renewable energy system. As batteries are now becoming a more widespread distributed energy asset their capability of providing flexible capacity to the network is proving invaluable to balance out the intermittency of renewables. But there is a need for proper management of these assets, or their market opportunities will shrink and their actual lifespan could be negatively affected. There is a significant amount of interest surrounding these technologies, so we’ll try to shed some light into what makes Open Energi stand out from the rest.
Can you tell us a bit about the company?
Open Energi has developed proprietary technology, Dynamic Demand 2.0, to connect and optimise a network of distributed energy assets to reduce energy costs and provide flexibility to enable a 100% renewable energy system. The Dynamic Demand 2.0 platform uses artificial intelligence to automatically co-ordinate assets and trade flexibility across energy markets in real time.
We provide benefit to our clients by reducing their energy costs by moving consumption to times when energy is cheaper but also by generating revenues by performing different demand side services in real time.
Since 2011, Open Energi has connected over 3,500 assets at over 400 sites, working with leading businesses, utilities, developers and technology partners to deliver innovative solutions that are transforming how energy is supplied and consumed.
How does your solution fit within the wider trends of Digitalisation and Decarbonisation in the energy sector?
Effectively managing and co-ordinating demand side flexibility is a key factor in the decarbonisation of the energy system. As we move towards more renewable energy generation there will inevitably be less flexibility in the energy generation system meaning flexibility in demand will become increasingly essential. Open Energi enables their clients to exploit their own flexibility to help balance the grid, thereby generating benefit for their clients and also the system operator.
Open Energi is at the forefront of the digitisation trend, by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimise and co-ordinate a large network of distributed assets into a useful flexibility portfolio.
Are there milestones you are particularly proud to have achieved as a company?
The launch of Dynamic Demand 2.0 in 2017 was a key milestone in the Open Energi story as it allowed us to trade flexibility in different energy markets and crucially to “stack” those services to enhance the business case. The ability to access different markets enables us to adjust the strategy as different markets become more profitable and the ability to stack revenues ensures we offer our customers the greatest value from their assets.
Dynamic Demand 2.0 is also highly adaptable and can be integrated with any flexible asset. Our portfolio consists of pumps and tanks, various types of battery and CHPs. We are now in the process of integrating with electric vehicle chargers and in 2019 connected with hydrogen electrolysers for the first time. Each new asset is a clear vindication of the versatility and usefulness of our technology.
The development of our patented state of charge management system for batteries was also important as it enables us to extend the lifetime of our battery assets to reduce the need for costly maintenance or replacements.
Let’s look at Japan Energy Challenge’s scope, what specifically attracted you about the prospect of expanding to the Japanese market?
Since the Fukushima accident in 2011, the Japanese energy sector is going through a transition, not only moving away from nuclear as a dominant power source, but also looking to replace fossil fuels and increase the use of renewables. Flexibility providers, such as Open Energi, will have an important part to play in that transition.
On top of this, the Japanese Power Market is also changing dramatically, going from regional vertically integrated utilities, to a more liberalised competitive market. This creates an opportunity for providers of demand response to provide grid services to help develop the market.
For all countries going through such transitions, energy users need to develop strategies to use energy more efficiently and intelligently. But, given Japan’s unique geographical and geological characteristics, this is even more urgent. In such a huge market, Open Energi can help customers (and utilities) to achieve these requirements.
And finally, how will your solution promote the expansion and modernisation of the Japanese energy sector?
Flexibility is an essential component to a 100% renewable energy system. Open Energi can provide and exploit that flexibility, providing benefit for both our clients and the system operator in the process. Open Energi can help large energy users reduce their energy bills by exploiting their flexible assets. We can help make renewable energy more feasible by reducing demand at peak times and optimising co-located storage with renewable generation. And we are even contributing to the development of the EV charging network by optimising charge points and providing V2G services.
Out technology is “invisible” to our clients meaning we can provide all these services without compromising their functionality or operations in any way. This is an essential factor in ensuring customer buy into the energy transition.
Open Energi will be taking part in Japan Energy Challenge in London this year, you can read about the other companies taking part in this year’s edition here. You can also find out more about the program, ventures and sponsors by clicking the links.