English startup equiwatt has secured new government backing to scale to develop its energy-usage reduction tech. The GreenTech startup, which has created a free app for users, is now planning to scale, helping make the UK more energy efficient.
Reducing energy use has a number of benefits, and it’s something that most households and businesses are now very conscious of. Spiralling energy costs, inflation and rising climate awareness have put energy use firmly in the spotlight. But, while consumers might be aware of the need, and actively want, to reduce energy – just how do you go about it?
Across Europe, startups and innovative GreenTech solutions are making it happen. Giving consumers more autonomy over their energy use and creating more efficient consumption practices. UK-based equiwatt is one such startup, and now, it’s got an additional boost from the UK government to scale – reflecting how the public sector is becoming more proactive in this space and how innovative tech and governments can work together for collaborative action.
equiwatt secured over €710k from Energy Entrepreneurs Fund (EEF9) through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP). It’s part of the UK government’s strategy to reach energy security and ent zero, aiming to fuel the development and commercialisation of technologies, products and processes, which decarbonise the UK energy sector.
Dr Johnson Fernandes, CEO of equiwatt, said: “We look forward to working with the new Department of Energy Security and Net Zero as we develop our technology to allow households to make a direct contribution to better manage the supply of energy from the demand side.”
Founded in 2015, equiwatt’s free app helps consumers make smarter energy consumption choices with a reward-style platform.
Users can connect appliances and EVs to equiwatt’s energy management system via this app and access smart technology such as smart meters. The app then rewards consumers for automatically pausing high-energy usage appliances and electric vehicle charging when energy is most expensive and polluting.
It creates a network of connected homes, that collectively act together to help create a more efficient and flexible energy system.
Users are rewarded with points when they participate in good energy-saving habits or take part in energy-saving events, called ‘equivents’ during which they switch off or avoid the use of high-energy use devices. The points can be redeemed for e-gift vouchers from the likes of Amazon, John Lewis and Asda.
On the B2B side, equiwatt is an approved supplier to the UK’s National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) trial and is the first company offering automated, household-wide participation in DFS events. Any household can take part, even if their energy supplier isn’t signed up to the DFS scheme, making the programme more accessible.
Dr Johnson Fernandes: “We are proud to receive this funding, which will accelerate our work to help create a more flexible and efficient UK energy system for all. The concept of a residential virtual power plant had previously been hindered by a lack of consumer engagement and high operational costs; however, we are developing a scalable solution, which has already proven to be effective during the National Grid’s DFS trial, through the use of the smart technology that already exists in people’s homes.”
The funding will be used to grow the equiwatt community, and empower a more energy-efficient future for the UK. It reflects a key part of the UK government’s strategy to reach more sustainable energy usage and shows a wider trend toward supporting consumer empowerment when it comes to energy.
Dr Johnson Fernandes: “With this funding, we can further grow our community and demonstrate that our model is commercially viable at large scales. When integrated into energy companies’ operations, we can help many thousands of people reduce their energy bills and support our collective ambitions to live in a net zero world.”
UK Energy Minister Graham Stuart said: “This funding will see the next generation of energy pioneers drive forward cheap and sustainable low-carbon technologies. This will not only deliver green jobs and lower the costs of energy to businesses but also foster world-leading solutions to net zero and economic growth.”