Creating a smarter energy future - Interview with New Statesman magazine

James Graham, Deputy Vice President of Asset Optimisation is interviewed for the latest edition of business magazine, the New Statesman. James answers questions about making energy work harder for customers and the environment. He also talks about our new Managed Flexibility product, launched last month and how we help consumers to optimise their energy usage which could reduce expenditure by 5-8%. Read the complete interview below.

How is SmartestEnergy a “next generation energy company”?
We are the original asset-lite energy company, a model being adopted by many other leading energy players. We believe the future energy customer is a hybrid of: a producer of renewable energy, a consumer of grid back-up electricity and a provider of balancing services, and our role is to provide a simple service for customers to access this new reality. Our new Managed Flexibility platform does just that!

What does the platform do?
It is a technology platform which connects into assets that customers own, such as battery storage, and into consumption assets, such as a piece of equipment that uses a great deal of energy. By connecting into these systems, the platform can control variable factors, making adjustments to the power consumed, or changing the times of day at which it is used, or deploying alternative sources of generation. It might mean slowing down an industrial production process for short periods of time without impacting overall production.

How can it save customers money?
By optimising a customer’s energy usage, making adjustments that streamline it and make it more efficient, a considerable amount of money can be saved. To take an example: a hypothetical company is spending £1m on electricity a year; by changing how much energy they use and when, we think that our platform could reduce that expenditure by 5-8 per cent.

What sustainable impact can it have?
The UK energy mix continues to change, reflecting an influx of renewable energy and a reduction in traditional thermal generation. This provides a very different challenge to the Grid as it struggles to  balance supply and demand around changeable weather and other factors. Our platform helps companies support the Grid in balancing power at the lowest cost, consuming power in a more sustainable way, and freeing up electricity at peak times.

How is it encouraging leadership in energy?
At SmartestEnergy, as do many commentators, we believe that companies should take a lead when it comes to achieving sustainable goals. Our platform allows companies to take an active role in their energy; what they use, when they use it and where they source it from.

How does it reflect the changing nature of energy?
The traditional utility model of big power stations which sell to many customers is becoming less and less economically viable. In this new age of energy, customers want to take control and build their own sustainable sources, such as solar panels on their own sites. This brings control but needs managing. Energy efficiency is reducing demand but new demands are growing as well, for example through the growth of electric vehicles.

That’s why we are developing this Managed Flexibility platform. It started dispatching real life energy assets at the start of this winter, and supports customers who want to embrace this smarter, greener age of energy. We have never built power stations – we have a service-led approach and are proud to be at the forefront of this energy transformation.

For more information about the optimisation opportunities for your business, download our Guide to unlocking the value in flexible assets. If you would like to discuss the energy optimisation opportunities for your business please get in touch.

> Read more from the New Statesman magazine