Supporting a future of abundant, clean and local energyBy Open Utility, Ltd
Organisation URL: openutility.com
The global electricity system, the essential service that underpins all of modern society is undergoing radical change, as we shift away from fossil fuels towards renewables. Open Utility has developed a new model for trading electricity which is ideally suited for this new world of decentralised power generation.
Open Utility’s web based peer-to-peer electricity marketplace will enable consumers to buy directly from local renewable power generators. They are piloting their service in 2015 in a project sponsored by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, with support from the energy regulator, Ofgem.
For the first time in the UK, generators, like community groups who have put up wind turbines, will be able to set their own prices and sell their excess electricity locally via the grid. Commercial consumers will be able to choose where their electricity comes from, and benefit from the cost and efficiency savings of buying local electricity. Customers will be able to see accurate breakdowns of exactly where each kWh (unit of electricity) was generated and all the costs associated with each transaction.
The renewables market is growing steadily, currently producing 25% of the EU’s electricity and expected to grow to 35% by 2020*. With leading utilities announcing plans to completely divest from fossil fuel generation and invest heavily in renewables, the timing couldn’t be better for Open Utility’s services. With their approach of partnering with utilities in each country, their plan is to work with the industry, not against it.
Co-founder James Johnston puts it like this: “We believe in a future of abundant, clean and local energy - and the only way to make this happen is to throw open the marketplace so there is total transparency of where energy comes from and how much it costs. We will work in partnership with utilities to enable buildings like schools and offices to become their own virtual power plants - powering themselves and sharing excess power with neighbours.”
Open Utility is a multidisciplinary team of six based in London’s Tech City. They’ve received support from Nominet Trust, Bethnal Green Ventures, Climate KIC, The Open Data Institute and The Department for Energy and Climate Change.
*http://www.keepontrack.eu/contents/publicationseutrackingroadmap/kot_eutrackingroadmap2014.pdf (page 8)
Image 'Solar array' courtesy of Mountain/\Ash
Last updated: 11th of June, 2014