Open Energi has been honoured with a 2016 Ashden Award for its work unlocking the potential of flexible electricity demand.

The Ashden Awards are a globally recognised measure of excellence in the field of sustainable energy and Open Energi wins the Impax Ashden Award for Energy Innovation. The organisation will receive tailored support to scale up its work along with up to £15,000 in prize money.

As the world strives to find ways of delivering energy which is clean, affordable, and secure, Open Energi has tapped into a way to address these challenges on the demand-side.

Open Energi uses flexible demand technology to identify electrical equipment which does not run continuously and doesn’t have to run at a particular time, and then installs its technology to turn that equipment up or down in response to conditions on the national grid. This is an approach which, as it is scaled up, will reduce the need to keep inefficient and polluting reserve power stations running and means fewer new power stations may need to be built in the future to keep UK lights on. This is not just good news for the environment but also for UK bill-payers and taxpayers.

Open Energi works with large corporate energy users, such as Sainsbury’s, United Utilities, Aggregate Industries and Tarmac, and is able to invisibly adjust their electricity consumption to match supply. Its technology allows it to respond rapidly to fluctuations on the national grid, turning equipment up or down in under two seconds. By intelligently shifting demand in this way, it is supporting greater use of renewable energy generation and helping to make the UK’s electricity system more efficient. Open Energi are paid by National Grid for providing this service and share the revenue with their clients.

The Ashden Awards judging panel said:

“Open Energi has developed a truly innovative technology to provide a frequency response service, which is essential for the integration of more renewable energy into the grid, and is helping power-hungry businesses to manage their energy use successfully.”

A recent Smart Power report estimated that if just five percent of current peak demand was met by flexible energy use solutions, consumers would benefit by £790m a year. Already Open Energi has aggregated some 60MW of flexible demand from over 380 customer sites. This enables it to flex around 17MW in real-time, saving 38,700 tonnes of CO2 annually.

David Hill, Business Development Director with Open Energi, said:

“This Ashden Award comes at an exciting time for Open Energi and the demand response industry as a whole. It feels like the industry is about to be propelled into the mainstream, much like renewable generation was over a decade ago. Globally, intelligent demand response is gathering pace as a credible alternative to traditional peaking plants and battery storage solutions, as the most efficient way to manage our transition towards 100% renewable energy.”

Winners will be presented with their Award at a ceremony being hosted by BBC journalist Mishal Husain at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 9 June, when the winners of the Ashden UK and International Gold Awards will also be announced.