Smart grid firm Upside Energy raises £5.5m funding

Graham Oakes: Domestic DSR will happen sooner than some think

Smart grid firm Upside Energy has raised £5.5m from Legal & General’s investment arm and investment and advisory company Systemiq.

Upside Energy has developed a cloud-based platform that aggregates and manages lots of different types of assets, including renewable generation, batteries, uninterruptible power supplies, business equipment and hot water tanks, in order to help balance both local and national power grids.

Whereas many aggregators focus on larger pieces of kit, Upside aims to aggregate small loads, bringing SMEs and potentially householders into demand-side response.

Other investors in the Series A funding round include Modern Energy, a North Carolina-based energy asset management firm, Bulldog Innovation Group, a Yale-affinity early stage venture capital firm and a group of individual investors.

“Advanced demand-side response systems such as Upside’s can enable a much faster and more substantial transition to a renewables-based grid by utilising smaller assets in flexibility provision, and smoothing the market by allowing faster response times and inter-utility provider (and consumer/asset owner) trading,” said Jeremy Oppenheim, founding partner of Systemiq. “We look forward to working with the management team and our co-investors to make this business a success.”

John Bromley, head of clean energy at Legal & General Capital, said: “Alongside investing in the creation of long term clean energy generating assets in solar and onshore wind, we are investing in complementary technology that together will be essential in delivering an affordable clean energy system to UK consumers. I am therefore delighted to be working with Upside Energy and some of the UK’s brightest talent in software development, united by a mission to make clean, affordable energy, available to all.”

Graham Oakes, Upside’s founder and chief scientist said the deal was “the culmination of four years of hard work since we entered the Nesta Dynamic Demand Challenge, sponsored by National Grid back in 2013”.

“We’ve taken Upside Energy’s cloud platform from a wild and speculative idea to a solid, innovative solution to help people harness the opportunities created by the confluence of two trends: the growth of renewable generation and the rise of smart devices. Our vision is to create a new, cleaner and more equitable, energy system. This partnership will help us realise that vision.”

  • Graham Oakes outlines some of the challenges of aggregating small loads in The Energyst’s new 2017 DSR report. Download it here, free of charge.

Related stories:

Upside Energy installing 1MW of batteries and hot water tanks to prove domestic DSR

Artificial Intelligence for smart grids: can UK start-up beat Google?

Aggregator targets small firms to build DSR from bottom up

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