Toshiba backs UK energy startup in £8.3m round

Toshiba backs UK energy startup in £8.3m round

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

London startup Piclo (Open Utility Ltd) has raised £8.3m for its renewable energy software, bringing on Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions as a new investor.

The Series B funding will be used to boost its business in the UK and Europe, as well as grow its international presence in the US, and Asia-Pacific and develop new products.

Piclo’s series B funding round was co-led by Future Energy Ventures (FEV) and Clean Growth Fund (CGF), followed by existing investor Green Angel Syndicate and new investors Toshiba , Sustainable Future Ventures (SFV) and Japan Energy Fund (JEF).

The Piclo Flex software enables system operators (SOs) to procure, dispatch and settle local flexibility services from flexibility service providers (FSPs) like electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries, to balance the grid during times of constraint, helping to make energy networks smarter, flexible and more sustainable. It has over 55,000 assets registered representing over 16GW of flexibility and has facilitated 1.1GW of flexibility capacity worth over £57 million.

Piclo is aiming to establish partnerships in new markets in Europe, the US and Asia-Pacific and has rolled out the software in six global markets: in the UK, Distribution System Operators (UK Power Networks, SP Energy Networks, Electricity North West); and the Transmission System Operator (NG ESO); in Ireland (ESBN); in Italy (E-Distribuzione); in Portugal ( E-REDES); in Lithuania ( Energijos Skirstymo Operatorius AB (ESO)); and in the United States in New York State (National Grid).

“We are delighted that our investors have chosen to support Piclo and enable our vision of a decarbonised grid by 2050. We believe that flexibility solutions through our marketplace have a critical role to play in the global journey to net zero and will help deliver increased energy security at lower cost, building on the great progress we’ve already made in the UK,” said James Johnston, CEO at Piclo. “Whilst we had minimal exposure to SVB, we applaud the quick action of the US and UK authorities which has reassured the business community.”

Toshiba ESS intends to gain an understanding of the current status of related businesses and the institutional design in Europe and the United States based on Piclo’s business and ecosystem. The company also plans to develop services for DER flexibility markets, which are expected to be established in the future.

“Toshiba ESS will continue to contribute to the realisation of a sustainable society by providing infrastructure services that improve the value of energy systems by making full use of Toshiba ESS’s wealth of knowledge and achievements in the energy field, technologies, know-how, and digital spaces,” said Tadasu Yotsuyanagi, Director, President and CEO of Toshiba ESS.

This is a key driver in Japan.

“From our experience building and growing our own energy data business in Japan, we believe Piclo’s energy marketplace is promising, and we are eager to support their growth. Moreover, to reach net zero, one of the key goals is to decarbonize the grid, which is estimated to account for over 20 billion tons in emission reductions. Piclo’s solution and mission are directly aligned with this goal, and we are excited to be one of the investors in this funding round,” said Yohei Kiguchi, PhD, CEO and Representative Director of ENECHANGE in Japan.

In 2021, the Japanese government announced its 6th Strategic Energy Plan, which included a national electricity mix plan to increase the share attributable to renewable energy from 36% to 38% by 2030.

Since renewable energy will be introduced in a relatively large number of regions in a dispersed manner, the power grid is expected to become congested, and the power transmission and distribution network will need to be strengthened. On the other hand, efficient use of storage batteries, EVs, and other DERs as regulating power sources will avoid inefficient power grid reinforcement, and there is a growing need for trading for DER flexibility. Furthermore, in Europe, it is essential for power distribution companies to participate in DER flexibility trading markets or to develop their own platforms with equivalent functions prior to grid reinforcement.



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