Are these 3 platforms the future of energy?

To tackle climate change, the energy sector needs to rise to an unprecedented challenge: decarbonisation. But cutting greenhouse gas emissions doesn’t just require cleaner ways of generating power. It also means harnessing the power of technology to change how energy is distributed, traded and stored, helping us to do more with less.

Here are three platforms that are transforming the industry, and making energy go further.

1. New Market Platforms

Flexible, manageable and predictable. In an ideal world, that’s what energy demand would look like.

Technology is opening up new markets in the energy sector that can make this a reality. For example, flexibility markets allow businesses to earn revenues from cutting their energy use at times of peak electricity demand.

Where accessing this market once required a business to schedule its reduced energy use in advance, it can now be done in real-time. Centrica Business Solutions' energy insight product ‘Panoramic Power’ uses wireless sensors in commercial buildings to transmit real-time data from energy-using equipment to an analytics platform. This allows real-time visibility and understanding of power usage.

REStore, also brought to customers via Centrica Business Solutions, can combine this live data with Artificial intelligence (AI) to control energy use and earn revenues in exchange for flexing their demand on the grid. The AI can even learn about the energy use of individual machines in commercial and industrial buildings, as well as the roles they play within business or manufacturing processes. This means it can turn machines on or off according to demands on the grid, without harming the business or manufacturing processes.

2. Peer-To-Peer Energy Trading

Imagine being able to power your home using your neighbour’s solar panels. Blockchain makes this possible.

Households with their own solar panels (or other generation capability) could soon sell their surplus energy to others. Alongside our partners, at Centrica we’re trialling blockchain-enabled trading in Brooklyn, London and Cornwall. The platforms analyse and track where every unit comes from, who is selling it and who is buying it, without an energy supplier as the middleman. Blockchain could also open up the opportunity for electricity producers to gift their excess energy to their local school or hospital.

This could be one of the biggest changes the energy market has ever seen.

3. Home Energy Management

Homeowners are able to understand their energy use better than ever before thanks to smart meters.

And technology such as smart home devices, micro-renewables, energy storage and even electric vehicles are making it much easier for homeowners to not just understand their energy use, but to control it – either at home or remotely.

A smart house with its combination of smart devices, energy management, home remote diagnostics and monitoring, is designed to make daily living easier, save money and make energy usage more efficient. This can play an important role in reducing carbon footprint.