Utility Week

Utility Week 7th August 2015

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20 | 7TH - 13TH AUGUST 2015 | UTILITY WEEK Game changer /Technology/Innovation An Upside for everyone A UK start-up wants to shake up the global demand response market by unleashing the potential of uninterruptible power supplies. Jane Gray reports. T he potential for battery storage to help meet national energy security and sustainability targets has recently shot up the agenda, receiving pub- lic and political attention thanks to Tesla's high-profile announcement of ambitions in this space. Upside, a start-up technology firm founded by geo- physicist and technologist Graham Oakes, is happy to see storage in the spotlight. He is working with the UK arm of the Sharp, owned by the Japanese conglomerate of the same name, which is alrady making a successful business of selling batteries to domestic households in Germany backed by subsidies linked to installations of photovoltaics. He is hopeful that Upside can help stimu- late the uptake of consumer-scale electricity storage in the UK. Perhaps uniquely, however, among those hoping to carve out a space in the small-scale storage mar- ket, Upside's primary proposition does not rely on the widespread penetration of domestic storage systems, which could take years. It plans to unleash the potential of around 6GW of storage already lying dormant in the UK in the uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) owned by all kinds of businesses, mostly to back-up computer servers. Oakes explains the play to Utility Week: "We'll use those batteries for, say, ten minutes once a week to pro- vide frequency response services to National Grid. So when the frequency goes low, we will just run servers on battery rather than off the grid." Unlike established players in the demand response market such as Flexitricity and Kiwi (recently acquired by Engie), Upside will target small and medium-sized companies and those with "interesting" demand response portfolios – such as telcos, whose many mobile phone towers each have their own UPS. "When you think about a mobile phone operator with 10,000-plus cell phone towers, then individually those towers aren't interesting to established demand-response side-aggregators because they are too small," Oakes says, "but collectively, there's 50-100MW there." Among the first UK organisations to work with Upside to maximise the benefit of its UPS is Greenpeace. As well as giving Upside "lovely green credentials" early in its Operations & Assets Upside's ambition • To launch in the UK in 2016 and break even in 2018 • To build a 3GWh virtual energy store globally by 2025 •  To generate global revenues of £109 million by 2025, operating in the UK,  Europe, North America and Asia Pacific • To triple this revenue by 2030 Who's working with Upside? As Upside gathers momentum for its Innovate UK and Decc-funded pilot scheme,  it has attracted a number of early supporters and partners spanning household  names and recognised energy market disrupters. These include: • Siemens • Sharp • Tempus Energy • The University of Manchester • EnLight Speculative relationships are also in the making with city/local authorities  interested in installing photovoltaics on social housing.

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