Shifting Control In The Energy Landscape

Demand Response and Energy Market Access solutions offer customers added functionality to help them stay in control of their electricity.
Published: Mon 28 Sep 2015

Limejump, a technology-driven utility in the UK, is giving energy customers more control over their energy.

The company is doing this by connecting customers with National Grid’s demand response programmes where generators are paid to ramp up or ramp down their energy export and businesses are compensated to shift or reduce their energy usage to help restore grid balance. Limejump also provides customers with a route to market by offering Power Purchase Agreements which unlock full market value by providing customers with actionable market intelligence. 

Co-founder of LimeJump, Erik Nygard, explains: “Control in the energy market must travel further down the train instead of sitting with the utility. To enable this shift, we have built a system that manages and provides distributed control to customers. We are building this platform to enable customers to take advantage of market opportunities. We want to give customers and small-scale generators uncomplicated access to the market through quality software. The aim to to provide customers with the same opportunities that traditional power plants currently have. Basically, we are shifting the control landscape.”

Disrupting the energy market

Limejump’s business model and technology has the potential to positively disrupt the UK’s energy market in a big way.

For one, the company makes demand response really simple and convenient for consumers. Basically, Limejump receives the request for help from National Grid and sends signals to generators to ramp up electricity production and businesses to turn down their demand in order to balance demand with supply. The customer can respond manually or can choose to have this automated. Customers receive updates from Limejump verifying event start and event close. Customers log in to the customer portal to access event details, energy performance data and payment information.

Secondly, Limejump helps customers to access and take advantage of the energy market more easily. Should customers wish to be more pro-active when it comes to selling their production based on Intra Day and Forward prices, Limejump will issues price updates to facilitate this. Customers will then run the generators and receive the Traded Price for every unit produced across a given half hour. Limejump can monitor this in real time to ensure the required production is being met. The company then manages any changes in required production from the generators by buying and selling to ensure minimal exposure to punitive imbalance prices.

Consumers participate proactively in energy market

By getting customers more involved in how they decide to  sell or procure their energy, price information on the market will be enhanced.

“Currently you don’t get a very clear price information point from customers directly so the current market is not completely real. This will change as we reach a bigger scale. There will be a clearer picture of the market as consumers begin to take part proactively using their electricity.” explains Mr Nygard.

He continues, “You need everyone in the market to become proactive and responsive to signals. Suddenly then, you can allow mass scales of renewable energy on to the system because you know that your demand customer can easily adjust their usage to help as long as incentives are correct.”

Limejump solutions are already being received well by customers. The company has a wide variety of customers on their books, from a 2kW school to a 20MW biogas site.

“Customers like the solutions since it gives them more control where they had none or very little before. While there is no upfront cost to the customer, the company takes a transaction fee off the back of the money that generators make in the market.”

Solutions for households is next on the company’s list and these should be made available within the next three to five years.

Closing the knowledge gap

The biggest challenge, according to Mr Nygard, is the large knowledge gap. The reason for this is because customers have never been exposed to market data on this level before.

“Customers don’t know that market involvement can be discretionary. Many don’t know that market participation can be carried out without their business processes being affected. Solutions must be simple enough so they don’t view participation as a burden.”

This process of easily accessing the market is fully automated with the Limejump Smart Box which is installed at the customer’s site. The Smart Box also uses high speed industrial controllers and is in constant communication with Limejump’s cloud-based platform. Customers also have access to an online customer portal where they can access their detailed statements, which offer full transparency on all revenue line items.

”This is about how you manage the data and how it is presented to customers. Data must be presented in a user-friendly way. Solutions are all about convenience and simplicity.”

In addition, customers are able to run reports and track their energy performance on the online customer portal.

For the moment, Limejump is focusing on the UK market as it is ‘well established but complex.’ “National grid’s demand response programme is great for us. We are also experts in the UK power market. This will help us develop further.”

Mr Nygard points out that Limejump has learnt a lot from Europe, especially Germany where companies like his operate successfully.

Increased market participation will create sustainable energy system

Limejump’s technology has been designed to empower customers. Solutions transform customer data into actionable information, enabling them to take control of their energy.

An energy industry made up of informed and proactive customers  will lead to a more sustainable energy system. It will also facilitate the uptake of renewables which is critical to ensuring security of supply as fossil fuels continue to dwindle.

“We can’t rely on large power plants for our energy needs anymore. We want to help with the transition to a more dynamic, sustainable energy system,” says Mr Nygard.

Mr Nygard, who will be presenting at European Utility Week, says that the purpose of Limejump attending the event is to share their business model with others in the energy industry but to also take the opportunity and learn from others too.

“We want to build awareness that our technology can make a great impact in the energy market space.”