Sitra invests in intelligent electric power
A new service for balancing electricity consumption and generation is promising to save companies money, enhance energy efficiency and reduce emissions. The potential for demand-side management of electricity in Finland is estimated to account for up to 10 per cent of the total consumption.
Together with Syncron Tech Oy, Sitra has invested in Sustainable Energy Asset Management (SEAM). SEAM is a service company specialising in the smart use of electric power. It provides large-scale consumers of electricity, such as industrial and corporate clients, with a solution for reducing consumption when power prices are high, and increasing it when it prices are low. This demand-side management cuts customers’ electricity bills and reduces the industrial carbon footprint. SEAM’s fully automated, real-time service concept is unique on a national scale and has already attracted interest outside Finland.
“By utilising the industrial internet and services built on top of it, customers can achieve immediate savings when purchasing electricity,” says SEAM CEO Jukka-Pekka Häkli. “In the past winter, we achieved monthly savings of up to 25 per cent for our customers, even though the winter was mild and electricity prices low. The service works extremely well when price fluctuations are high. Thanks to our fully integrated solutions, savings procedures do not disturb the actual business and opportunities can be exploited to their maximum in the electricity markets.”
SEAM uses technology to control electricity consumption by lowering consumption during price peaks, transferring consumption from high-priced hours to low-priced ones, reducing total consumption and utilising the benefits of demand-side management in the procurement of electricity. In order to use smart electricity consumption efficiently a technological solution and continuous participation in electricity trading are required. SEAM’s service combines both. For customers, the initial cost of the investment is low. On average, the investment will pay for itself within a year.
SEAM’s service enables customers to save on energy costs and enhance energy efficiency. Electricity consumers are not, however, the only ones who benefit from demand-side management. Sellers of electricity can optimise electricity generation and avoid the costs of peak-price hours. This is beneficial for the environment too because during peak consumption times any extra energy capacity requirements are filled by the use of inefficient production methods such as gas turbines powered by fossil fuels.
“The investment in SEAM contributes to furthering the industry’s objective of a more low-carbon future, ideal as regards Sitra’s goals as well,” says Jukka Aaltonen, Senior Lead at Sitra.
Demand-side management will be more and more significant in future electricity markets, because the increasing supply of inflexible energy generation, such as nuclear power and power from renewable sources, will increase fluctuations in electricity prices. In Denmark, for instance, electricity prices have been negative at times because electricity is difficult to store profitably. In Finland, the potential for demand-side management of electricity is estimated to total 500–1 300 megawatts, that’s an estimated 10 per cent of the country’s total consumption.