Saturday 24 September 2016

Bord na Mona buys 50pc of smart grid start-up Electricity Exchange

Published 28/08/2016 | 02:30

The deal marks diversification from Bord na Mona's history as a provider of peat products. It now operates a sizeable renewable electricity generation business called Powergen (Stock picture)
The deal marks diversification from Bord na Mona's history as a provider of peat products. It now operates a sizeable renewable electricity generation business called Powergen (Stock picture)

Bord na Mona has bought 50pc of smart electricity-grid technology business Electricity Exchange, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

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Electricity Exchange's technology monitors electricity demand at businesses around the country and triggers back-up generators, or automatically reduces businesses' electricity consumption temporarily, if the grid has a shortage of power.

The deal marks diversification from Bord na Mona's history as a provider of peat products. It now operates a sizeable renewable electricity generation business called Powergen.

"Bord na Mona Powergen have a significant development pipeline of renewable projects and we see the Electricity Exchange technology as an enabler to allow greater renewable penetration onto the Irish Electricity grid," said Bord na Mona chief executive Mike Quinn.

"The power system is evolving at a fast pace, and Electricity Exchange has a track record of constant innovation," he added.

The parties did not disclose the consideration paid to Electricity Exchange as part of the deal.

"Unlike the majority of its European counterparts, as an island, Ireland has limited opportunity to borrow from neighbouring countries when its own power generation falls short.

"The variable nature of wind, from which we derive the majority of our renewable electricity generation, requires vigilant power system management in order to maintain security of electricity supply," a Bord na Mona spokesman said.

Electricity Exchange, which is based in Limerick, was co-founded by Paddy Finn, who was among those who appeared on last year's Sunday Independent '30 under 30' list of emerging business leaders.

Finn, who is Electricity Exchange's managing director, said the company would use the investment to accelerate its growth, expand into other markets, and provide the technology needed to make Ireland "a smart grid exemplar".

The State aims to have 40pc of electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. Recently released Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) figures showed wind-generated power increased by 28pc last year.

"However this was offset by increased use of coal and peat in non-renewable electricity generation and a reduction in total electricity imports. The net effect was a marginal increase in the carbon intensity of electricity generation," the SEAI added.

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