Spanish startup eyes consumer participation in flexibility markets

Barcelona-based startup Bamboo Energy has launched an aggregation platform for small-scale distributed energy resources.

The platform, which is aimed at demand aggregators, provides artificial intelligence-based energy optimisation to coordinate electricity distributors and consumers in a system with bidirectional energy flows.

Bamboo Energy is a technological spin-off of the Catalan Energy Research Institute (IREC). The solution draws on seven years of research at IREC to enable companies to operate optimally in new energy markets, generating income while being flexible in consumption and more efficient, according to a company release.

The platform enables functionalities including demand forecasting, customer flexibility forecasting, optimal bidding strategies, scheduling and intraday optimisation and alerts in case of excessive power rises.

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The platform connects to the electricity market to offer the services via a control centre.

“Achieving a 100% renewable energy system is not possible without the flexibility of demand. In this sense, Bamboo Energy is an enabling agent for the transformation of the energy sector,” says Cristina Corchero, a co-founder and director of the IREC Energy Systems Analysis research group.

Bamboo Energy has grand plans for its platform, following the opening up of flexibility markets in Spain at the start of 2021.

The company reports that energy sector marketers Nexus Energía and Electra Caldense Energía, potential independent aggregators including the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB), the Andalusian Technology Park (PTA) and Europastry, and distributors including e-distribution from the Coordinet project have already started connecting buildings and other energy assets through the Bamboo Energy platform.

Under the current law aggregation of demand is permitted only with a sufficient volume of flexible generation, such as industries and tertiary buildings. However, it is expected it will open up further to independent aggregators in 2022.

Bamboo Energy also is targeting other markets in Europe and expects to grow to a staff of 500 within five years.

The company is an institutional partner of EIT Innoenergy and has received aid of €75,000 (US$88,000) from the Startup Capital line of the Catalunya business competitiveness agency ACCIÓ.