Open Utility secures government funding to develop the "missing piece" in the smart energy system

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Open Utility is backed by a former SSE chief executive (Source: Getty)

Software firm Open Utility has secured government funding to develop what it says is the "missing piece" in the transition to a smart energy system.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) handed Open Utility £412,500 to go towards developing a new online marketplace for local electricity flexibility trading.

The platform will help distribution network operators (DNOs) manage local smart grids by reducing congestion at specific times and locations, the firm said.

Read more: Ofgem threatens electricity distribution networks with £13.9m in fines

London-based Open Utility, which has been backed by former SSE boss Ian Marchant, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, received the cash as part of Beis' energy entrepreneurs fund.

The company said:

Online marketplaces like Airbnb and Uber combine intuitive web design with scalable resource optimisation algorithms to lower barriers to entry and unlock the value of underutilised assets.

Open Utility is leveraging the power of online marketplaces to solve one of the biggest challenges facing the energy industry: enabling DNOs to become DSOs [distribution system operators].

A report by Beis and Ofgem found a smart, flexible energy system could cut UK emissions and realise between £17bn and £40bn of savings by 2050.

Open Utility added it will run a consultation to ensure its service fits the needs of a wide range of stakeholders, including battery manufacturers, energy suppliers, electric vehicle manufacturers and others.

The new service will come as part of the company's Piclo platform, which was launched commercially with Good Energy in 2016. The platform acts as a peer-to-peer energy matching service for businesses which want to buy from local renewable generators.

Read more: UK energy networks work to create new opportunities with the smart grid

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