EDP invests €6 million in GridBeyond to grow in new markets

Thursday 23, January 2020

Investment in a leading company in demand side response services reinforces EDP's commitment to lead the energy transition and drive international expansion.

EDP reinforces its international expansion plans by investing 6 million euros in GridBeyond, a company that operates in the UK and Irish markets and leads the way in offering ancillary services to business customers. With this investment, made through EDP Comercial, the group invests in the most dynamic energy market in Europe, through an innovative service that promotes the stability of the electricity grid through the optimization of clients’ energy consumption and efficiency.

GridBeyond - founded in 2007 and finalist in the latest edition of the Free Electrons program – contributes to EDP's strategy for the energy transition, focusing on a key area within the sector and one that is currently undergoing significant growth: ancillary service delivery, required to maintain grid stability and security, through flexible customer load management. The global market for ancillary services is estimated to reach a cumulative overall capacity of over 1,000GW in 2040 – equivalent to 46 times the current installed capacity in Portugal.

Traditionally, ancillary services were delivered only by thermal power plants and hydroelectric power plants. The increasing penetration of renewable intermittent energy sources, such as wind and solar, increases the need to stabilize the grid in alternative ways. GridBeyond develops solutions that enable the delivery of smart ancillary services by acting remotely on flexible loads that are available in end-user industrial plants or companies. Examples of flexible loads are large furnaces, cold systems, or even a building's climatization system, which can be regulated remotely and marginally without impacting final production. In return for this remote manipulation, customers (plants or companies giving remote access to their equipment) are compensated for their participation in the local ancillary service market via a reduction in their energy bill.

This market is growing in countries with modern power grids and strong penetration of renewable energy. In Portugal, it is expected that customers will soon have access to these services and the incremental revenues they represent, contributing to a reduction in their energy bill.

For EDP, “this investment is driven by our ambition to gain experience in managing flexibility in distributed assets and seek new energy products and services that meet the changing needs of the energy customer, as well as by our objective to strengthen EDP’s international expansion. The changing paradigm of our sector, with the electrification of the economy, decentralization of energy generation, and overall digitalization, leads to the adoption of new technologies that, with the appropriate regulatory framework, allow for a more dynamic portfolio that includes the market’s participation in demand response through flexibility services, something we anticipate will be key to the adequate equilibrium of the electric system in the near future," explains Vera Pinto Pereira, CEO of EDP Comercial.

From a startup to a global player

This investment with GridBeyond involved the emission of a new class of preferred shares, equivalent to the amount of 10.5 million euros. EDP led this financing round by investing 6 million euros, together with a consortium of investors, including ESB (the Irish incumbent utility) and the venture capital funds Total Carbon Neutral Ventures and ACT. With this investment, EDP guaranteed representation on the board (António Coutinho, board member of EDP Comercial) and a board observer (Luís Manuel, board member of EDP Inovação).

“The newly completed financing round sets GridBeyond on the path to increase the reach of our intelligent energy platform, delivering world leading AI and powerful automation capabilities to smart grid and energy markets”, stated Michael Phelan, chief executive and co-founder of GridBeyond. This supports our ambition to advance the transition of the global energy networks towards digitalization, decarbonization and decentralization. All while enhancing commercial and operational benefits for market participants through fast-acting automation and optimization of demand and distributed generation.

Founded in 2007, GridBeyond is the creator of the world’s first hybrid battery and demand network. In just over ten years, it has grown from an Irish-born startup into a globally recognized award-winning company that promotes the energy transition.GridBeyond provides services to more than 400 commercial and industrial sites, including some of the most recognized global brands.