The company has become a global leader in smart technology for the energy transition. The decarbonisation and electrification of the economy have become hot topics in the developed world. However, this quest towards a more sustainable energy model, involving replacing fossil fuels with renewable ones, requires an extreme amount of technology.
The digitalisation of the electricity sector is central to this transition. As such, the third priority societal challenge identified as part of Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research & Innovation 2014–2020, is ‘secure, clean and efficient energy’.
Specifically, the following goals have been established as part of the EU’s Energy Challenge: reducing energy consumption and the carbon footprint through smart and sustainable consumption; a low-cost, low-carbon electricity supply; alternative fuels and mobile energy sources; a single, smart European electricity grid; new knowledge and technologies; robust decision making and public engagement; and market uptake of energy and ICT innovation.
It is within this context that Ayesa led one of Europe’s most ambitious projects, NETfficient, which was completed at the end of 2018 after three years of intensive research and testing. With an 11-million-euro budget and 13 partners, its aim was to identify new business models for the energy sector which were both viable and could be exported to any city in the world, thus helping the energy sector on its path of digital transformation. Innovative concepts based on the sharing economy, as well as a whole host of cutting-edge technologies, were used as part of the project. For example, a system based on distributed renewable energy generation and storage was created, managed via a cloud-based platform designed to automatically optimise the system and maximise the profit obtained from participating in energy markets.
The entire system was tested on the German island of Borkum, with producers, consumers and local authorities participating. At the heart of the project was the so-called sharing economy, in which consumers are an active part of the energy system, becoming prosumers.
The result was a complex technology platform developed by Ayesa based on big data and artificial intelligence which works like a virtual power plant. However, the uses for this platform, currently marketed under the name Gridpilot, are numerous. Thanks to the innovative solutions developed as part of NETfficient, which make use of emerging technologies for the energy sector, Ayesa is now working alongside Enel X North America in the USA.
The electric power system is currently undergoing a transformation as a result of the growth in renewable fuels, the arrival of electric vehicles and the introduction of distributed energy storage (or dispersed energy storage in the case of photovoltaic installations and batteries in buildings).
Consumers are playing a bigger role in the electric power system due to the introduction of energy efficiency measures, the management of demand (i.e. actively changing consumption to reduce costs) and the generation and storage of energy at homes.
Smart cities must also look for new ways of making progress in terms of sustainability, placing a particular emphasis on renewable energy, electric vehicles and greater energy efficiency, generating energy where it is consumed. That is why technology solutions such as Gridpilot are the future.