- A United Kingdom-based company on Tuesday began real-time sales of real-time monitoring and controls software to enable distributed energy resources to participate in two North American networks, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and the independent electricity system operator (ISO) in Ontario, Canada.
- Kiwi Power installed distributed energy resource optimization technology at projects with ENGIE North America and Lakeland Power, with plans for additional installations in the near future to enable price-based trading and demand response within each respective ISO. The company's "virtual power plant" model aggregates distributed energy resources through software controls.
- After playing an active role in the ongoing transformation in the U.K. and elsewhere in the European Union, Kiwi Power says North America appears ready to begin its own energy transformation thanks in part to the growing adoption of battery storage.
Despite certain political pressures, Kiwi Power believes now is the time for global renewable power leaders — including itself — to enter the North American market.
North America, and the U.S. in particular, has lagged somewhat behind the European Union in terms of renewable energy adoptions. But Kiwi Power, which essentially "grew up" over the course of the U.K.'s renewable energy transformation, says U.S. markets appear to be nearing their own transition, triggering the U.K.-based grid technology company's overseas expansion, according to Stephan Marty, Chief Commercial Officer for Kiwi Power.
The geographic scale of the North American market introduces some new challenges, but the market is already fragmented, allowing for the creation of independent real-time markets within each ISO. Each ISO has its own unique set of regulations and circumstances, Marty said, but the sheer size of any individual US market "is big enough by itself to drag investment into it," he said. "What we see in the U.S. is very attractive."
Moreover, Kiwi Power has observed that North America is "at the cusp" of the transition that enabled its growth in the U.K. and across Europe, with a sudden escalation in renewable energy deployment as wind and solar become more cost competitive, and the adoption of battery technology, which Marty said was particularly key.
"That's what dragged us over to the U.S.," he said, "is saying, 'We've seen this before, let us help you navigate these changes.'"
North American energy markets tend to be more diverse than those in the EU, Marty said, but so far they're on the same trajectory as the U.K. As the amount of renewable energy has increased, ISOs have begun to seek solutions to address their impact on the grid. They've also turned to battery storage. These developments introduce more volatility to the grid, Marty said.
Kiwi power worked with the U.K. throughout this roughly 10-year process, learning and adapting along the way. Today, thanks in part to decreased energy demand due to COVID-19, Kiwi Power has direct experience in managing a grid in the U.K. that is 80% renewable at times, Marty said.
But while the U.S. is currently behind the EU in terms of new grid technology and renewable energy adoption, Marty said he sees no reason why it couldn't quickly close the gap thanks to several advantages — the availability of land for renewable development being first and foremost among them.
Taking advantage of short-term, five-minute and day-ahead pricing and demand management is enabled by installing hardware and software, which Kiwi Power provides, at the generation site, with storage on the load side of the equation. The company's foray into the U.S. began with a pilot project at a large commercial site in Texas, but plans are already in the works to bring additional commercial and generation sites into the market.
"This is the future," Marty said, "and we are with our technology enabling it."
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated Kiwi Power's activity in North America. The company began sales of real-time monitoring and controls software.