Energy demand has fallen globally. Oil prices are plummeting. Everywhere in the energy world things look fairly grim, but keeping the lights on and electrons moving remains critical to keeping even the hobbled economies of the world humming.
That’s why startups like Amperon, which use data analysis to provide predictive tools for energy retailers and grid operators, are still relevant — and still raising money.
The company raised $2 million in a round that closed in February before the pandemic hit U.S. shores. And the service, according to co-founder Abe Stanway, is still vital.
“We tell them how much electricity their customers are going to use on a short-term and long-term basis,” Stanway said of the company’s service. “When these exogenous shocks and black swan events occur we get much more valuable because you need this machine learning in order to understand how the grid is going to behave.”
“Amperon builds real-time operational grid intelligence tools via smart meters and AI for utilities, energy retailers, grid operators and institutional traders,” said Emily Kirsch, Powerhouse founder and chief executive. “Amperon’s iterative demand forecasting is able to account for never-before-seen grid volatility resulting from a global pandemic, climate disasters or an increasingly complex grid.”
Amperon is working with four major geographies, including Australia’s two major grid regions and the ERCOT regional transmission organization responsible for Texas, and PJM, which manages the mid-Atlantic’s electricity grid.
Stanway said the new money would be used to expand the company’s reach across more grid operators in the U.S.
While Amperon’s technology is incredibly useful for utilities and grid operators during times of crisis, it can help save money in normal times too. Long-term utility planners typically over-budget their energy needs by 1% every year, which adds up to billions of dollars spent on unnecessary additional generation capacity, according to Amperon.
Lower spending means reduced electricity prices for consumers. Another issue that Amperon says it can help energy providers address is the increasing complexity of grid management. Renewable energy generation adds variability to the grid that utilities and grid operators have yet to effectively manage, the company said.