Open Utility raises £500,000 to launch peer-to-peer energy trading service
Department of Energy and Nominet Trust display faith in green energy start-up
Energy trading start-up Open Utility today announced the completion of an $800,000 round of funding, set to accelerate operations as it prepares to launch in 2016.
Initially launched as a comparison service for energy producers, London-based OpenUtility is planning to recast itself as a peer-to-peer marketplace, allowing consumers to purchase excess energy direct from energy generators with spare capacity to sell (such as an office building with solar panels).
The start-up claims this model will promote greater transparency in the marketplace, as well as making renewable energy more commercially viable for community buildings such as schools and offices.
Open Utility was one of the first graduates of the Open Data Institute’s start-up incubator programme, a non-profit initiative co-founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to promote transparency and open data.
The £500,000 round comprised £310,000 from the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund scheme, and £150,000 from internet charity the Nominet Trust. Open Utility also secured grant funding of £40,000 from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s Climate-KIC programme.
It will be used to back a 16-month development programme prior to the pilot launch of the start-up’s energy trading service.
James Johnston, co-founder and CEO of Open Utility, said in a statement: “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.
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“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.”