Saving money and the environment with Open Utility

Open Utility, a company on the ODI Startup programme, whose mission is to create the first renewable electricity marketplace, has secured half a million pounds of funding from the UK Government, the EU and Nominet Trust to deliver its vision. The new service will enable electricity consumers and generators to trade over the internet.

Open Utility has recently secured £310k from the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund scheme and obtained the necessary match funding of £150k from Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading Tech for Good funder.

The company has also reached the final stage of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s Climate-KIC UK Accelerator Programme, that includes a grant of £40,000. The programme helps promising start-ups develop cleantech ventures.

Open Utility is one of 18 companies that have gone through the ODI’s startup programme, which supports new businesses to develop innovative open data ideas into sustainable businesses. The programme supports companies with product development, funding, technology, operational, marketing and financial advice. Five companies have recently graduated the programme with innovative, market-ready products.

Having launched a comparison service that helps renewable generators find the best rates for selling their export power, the team will now develop an online peer-to-peer energy marketplace, partnering with one of the UK’s many licensed energy companies to build the technology. Following a pilot phase, the service will launch in 2016 offering tools for renewable generators to sell their electricity directly to consumers. In return, consumers will have full transparency over where their power comes from, greater choice, and will be able to source the best deal, obtaining low carbon ‘green’ electricity at the lowest possible price.

James Johnston, Co-Founder and CEO at Open Utility said:

“We think the future is in abundant, clean, local energy - and the only way to make this happen is to throw open the marketplace so there is total transparency of where renewable energy comes from and how much it costs. With our new peer-to-peer service, community buildings like schools and offices will be able to double as power plants - powering themselves during the day and sharing excess power with neighbours in the evenings and weekends.”

Gavin Starks, CEO at the ODI said:

“Open Utility’s peer-to-peer energy marketplace could have a huge economic and environmental impact. Allowing generators to publish energy data as open data will both drive transparency and unlock open innovation in the sector. It is great to see the power of the open web, combined with crowd-enabling business models, presenting additional solutions to help meet our energy needs.”

Amber Rudd, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, said:

“The UK has a long and rich history of developing innovative and exciting new technologies that can enhance our lives whilst also tackling serious problems such as climate change. The Open Utility project is being supported by the Energy Entrepreneur Scheme which has been developed to help the UK achieve our ambitions to improve energy security, reduce emissions whilst also creating new jobs.”