Technology buys cheap electricity for you

Published: Fri 15 Apr 2016
A blog entry by Anders H. Lier

Contributed by:

Anders H. Lier
President & CEO

Anders H. Lier's Blog

Soon you and I will produce electricity ourselves. The rest of the electricity you need for your house will be bought for you by a cloud-based software. It will buy the electricity accurately during the minutes or hours when the electricity is at its cheapest. This is the future.

The energy market is dramatically changing. Not just the oil sector, but the electricity sector too. In the most traditional markets there are shelves to store goods that are not yet sold. But this kind of storage space has not existed in the energy market.

Norway produces a lot of clean energy. Water reservoirs in the Norwegian mountains work almost like an energy storage space. If you open the floodgates, Norway can produce a lot of energy in a short amount of time, when, for example, the market requires it. But this is not how the energy market works globally.

Coal or nuclear power produce the biggest share of global energy. Slowness in the thermal processes means that it takes days to start and stop them. As a consequence, most of the time there will be surplus energy, and large amounts of energy is released into the atmosphere. Alternatively, there is a shortage of supply which results in customers paying higher electricity prices.

Everybody wants electricity from renewable energy because it is emissions free. To have the sun heat and light our house at night, we need to be able to store the electricity that is produced during the day.

New market players and new technology are turning the industry upside-down. For example, Tesla launched PowerWall. For 3,000 dollars you get a battery that stores 7 kWh. An average household uses 2.5 KW/h. With six to seven PowerWalls you can cover the household’s energy needs when you do not have access to solar power.

In 1987, you had to pay NOK 60,000 for a 60 megabyte hard disc. Today, you can buy eight gigabyte memory sticks for NOK 150 (~16€). We will see the same revolution in the energy market, and this is what we are working for, and passionate about.

Today, we are delivering software solutions to utilities’ production and support functions. We are leading in the Nordic region, and one of the biggest challengers in Europe. If we want to keep up with the times, or be ahead of the times, we have to – just like other Norwegian businesses – continue to think in new ways.

We want to see more houses that combine solar panels on their roof with batteries that can store electricity. This allows each house to both sell and purchase electricity to/from the grid. Here lies an exciting market. As an electricity consumer, it is a clear advantage to fill up the batteries when electricity is at its cheapest. To do this, you need advanced software that charges the batteries at the right time. The software can also notice when the electricity from grid is expensive, and use stored electricity instead. In addition, the software takes care of payments for consumed electricity and invoicing of sold electricity. Statistics and official reports are produced correctly and on time.

Today we analyse forecasts and electricity consumption from our customers. That means data from 15 million households. We analyse this huge amount of data to provide insights to our customers. The energy companies buy the analyses from us, and in addition we predict demand – hour by hour – for the next 48 hours. Today electricity is priced hourly, but maybe this is about to change too?


This article was first published in Norwegian in Innomag magazine and in English in Enoro blog.