Alpiq acquires British market leader in demand response
Alpiq has acquired the British company Flexitricity as of 7 April 2014. With this acquisition, Alpiq can support its strategy implementation by gaining access to specialised know-how and new markets in the area of decentralised energy management.
Flexitricity is Great Britain’s leader in the management of networked services.
Since commercialisation in 2008, Flexitricity has been aggregating the electricity production and consumption of energy-intensive industrial, commercial, and public sector companies. Flexitricity offers these electricity volumes to the transmission and distribution system operators as positive or negative reserves for ancillary services. In Europe, Great Britain is the most developed market for demand response services. Flexitricity pioneered this market sector and continues to lead it in terms of volume and technical capability.
Trend to demand management
Up to now, network stability was mainly ensured through standard supply control in that conventional power plants offered their services in the ancillary market. Now, demand management is gaining in importance due to higher, fluctuating electricity production from wind farms and photovoltaic systems. In essence, the idea is to make electricity demand more flexible and adaptable to fluctuating electricity supply. If power has to be taken from the grid or electricity has to be fed to stabilise the grid, Flexitricity controls the connected power plants and machines directly via a secure Internet line that connects to a virtual power plant. In doing so, the company stabilises the electricity grid, increases supply security, and reduces CO2 emissions. In addition, Flexitricity optimises the consumption and production volumes of its clients in order to reduce their grid costs.
Flexitricity suits Alpiq’s new strategy
Entering the decentralised energy management market is part of Alpiq’s new strategy as presented last December. With the acquisition of Flexitricity, Alpiq has secured specialised know-how in this growth area, and a broad portfolio of long-term energy clients in Great Britain. Alpiq plans to continue developing Flexitricity’s innovative solutions and transfer these to other countries. The parties have agreed not to disclose details on the purchase price.
In 2004, Flexitricity Limited was established to develop new ways of maintaining the critical real-time balance between electricity supply and demand, thereby reducing energy costs and improving the environmental performance of the electricity industry. Today, the company runs the largest live, open-market smart-grid operation in the UK, supplying reserve services to National Grid, which has the overall responsibility for the security of the national electricity supply. National Grid uses these reserve services from time to time to keep the electricity system balanced. Headquartered in Edinburgh, Flexitricity is privately held. The company has had equity funding and support since 2005 from Archangels, Scotland’s leading angel group which has supported nearly eighty start-up companies since 1992, as well as investment from the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.
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