How green is your electricity? New Australian software identifies origin of supply

A new software platform that will allow consumers to choose the provenance of their renewable electricity supply, and allow the establishment of corporate or local government-based clean energy communities, is set to be rolled out in Australia.

The technology, developed by emerging energy market player Enosi, has been successfully tested at a small scale and is in the process of being scaled up under the guidance of a new energy incubator program run by Energy Estate.

On a basic level, the software platform enables the direct traceability of energy settlements and generator specific price discovery across the grid. It allows customers to identify in every half hour the specific energy source against which their electricity demand is settled and the specific price at which that happens.

The price and usage data is then delivered to a common retailer and is settled simply, on the customer’s monthly energy bill. And there’s an app for all that.

This was tested by Enosi on a small scale in early 2019 through a partnership with retailer Energy Locals, which allowed customers to negotiate the sale of excess rooftop solar generation at rates individually agreed upon with chosen buyers.

As Enosi CEO Steve Hoy told One Step at the time, the core goal of the platform was to remove the need for consumers to be reliant on a traditional retailer with integrated centralised generation produced a long way away.

“At the moment, customers are just purely price takers. They’re really completely exposed to whatever games (gen-tailers) choose to play in the wholesale market.

“There’s not a lot you can do about it if you can’t invest in solar or your property isn’t suitable.”

A year later, and with Energy Estate’s guidance, the plans for the software platform have taken on impressive new momentum.

“It’s really, essentially, bill matching software, which sounds pretty simple in one sense, but it’s what it enables that makes it potentially revolutionary,” said Energy Estate principal Vincent Dwyer in an interview with One Step Off The Grid.

“Once you can scale those algorithms to work with many thousands of participants, the applications of the platform are endless, and their impact on the grid will be truly transformational.”

Among the truly mind-boggling number of applications Energy Estate is envisioning for Enosi’s clever technology is to tailor it for large corporations who perhaps already have a solar or wind energy power purchase agreement.

These corporations could use Enosi’s platform to offer their staff and supply chains access to the same source of cheap renewable power – both as an incentive for loyalty and as a way of ensuring sustainability up and down the supply chain.

Another application Dwyer is excited about is for the software to be used to provide a platform for major auto companies to offer free power to all of their electric vehicle customers for the first five years.

“Let’s say a major car company has a wind farm and a solar farm and that powers all of its cars. And that company may say, ‘we’ll pick up the tab for that’,” he said.

“Property developers can use it to offer cheaper renewables to tenants in a high rise building from panels on the roofs of their other buildings. Industrial businesses can use it for scope 2 & 3 emissions validation – knowing where the (cheaper) power used by their suppliers comes from.

“Loyalty programs can offer their members access to traceable renewables, franchisors can sponsor renewables for their franchisees and this tool can help deliver common-user night-time storage – community rather than just household-funded batteries.”

It’s even good news for electricity retailers, in that it can help to boost loyalty – or customer “stickiness” – in an industry with a notoriously high churn rate.

“At the corporate level, it’s about being able to optimise your energy use, knowing all the price points  …And it blows away the whole need for LGCs (large-scale generation certificates) by providing provenance for your energy. And it is simple – accessible through an app and settled through the common retailer.”

For Energy Estate – the subject of an April 2019 edition of RenewEconomy’s Energy Insiders podcast and one of Australia’s most interesting and astute renewables developers – Enosi’s technology marks the first candidate for its new Energy Growth incubator, which is focussed on accelerating transformative opportunities in the global energy sector.

“We’ve gone in to incubate it,” Dwyer said. “We’re finalising the build in the next four to five weeks of version 2.0 of the IT platform – the large-scale version. …And we’re now approaching corporates and membership organisations.”

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