Thursday, 27 January 2022

Startup Stories: reaching net zero by knowing the source of your electricity

By Total Telecom Staff
Monday 29 November 21

FlexiDAO's software helps companies reach net zero emissions by tracing where their electricity comes from and its true CO2, every hour of the day.

Tell us about your startup Flexidao is a software company that focuses on the electricity traceability field. Our mission is to help companies move towards 24/7 Carbon-Free Electricity sourcing (24/7 CFE). The way we do that is by tracing the origin of green power and its CO2 content every hour of the day, using our blockchain-based technology. Our business model addresses one of the main barriers that companies face on their path to decarbonisation, which is the ability of electricity consumers to access transparent electricity data to gain control over where, when, and how this fuel they consume is produced. Our software helps energy suppliers to acquire new customers and increase margins by enabling a new sustainability premium service. Consumers can track from which plants their energy is coming from in real-time and share it with stakeholders. We integrate hourly electricity consumption and production records to the existing energy attribute certification (EAC) schemes (e.g., GOs in Europe, RECs in North America) for compliance. This is a transparency layer added to the legal green certificates, used by corporates as a CSR & marketing tool. Blockchain acts as a digital notary that can ensure there is no double…

Tell us about your startup
Flexidao is a software company that focuses on the electricity traceability field. Our mission is to help companies move towards 24/7 Carbon-Free Electricity sourcing (24/7 CFE). The way we do that is by tracing the origin of green power and its CO2 content every hour of the day, using our blockchain-based technology. Our business model addresses one of the main barriers that companies face on their path to decarbonisation, which is the ability of electricity consumers to access transparent electricity data to gain control over where, when, and how this fuel they consume is produced.

Our software helps energy suppliers to acquire new customers and increase margins by enabling a new sustainability premium service. Consumers can track from which plants their energy is coming from in real-time and share it with stakeholders. We integrate hourly electricity consumption and production records to the existing energy attribute certification (EAC) schemes (e.g., GOs in Europe, RECs in North America) for compliance. This is a transparency layer added to the legal green certificates, used by corporates as a CSR & marketing tool. Blockchain acts as a digital notary that can ensure there is no double-counting of this hourly granular certification, whilst also allowing a more efficient auditing process.

24/7 CFE is one of the most promising best practices in the energy industry, known as the next frontier of corporate sustainability commitments. Several studies such as ‘A Timely Match’ by Eurelectric and an analysis by Princeton University ZeroLab prove that 24/7 CFE has the potential to fully decarbonise electrical grids worldwide. Companies need the support of digital energy management solutions to help them on their journey. By tracing the origin of the green power consumed on an hourly basis, our software allows companies to make better informed decisions on their energy procurement strategies.

Flexidao has active projects all around Europe, in the US, and in Chile. Our main markets of focus today are Europe, North America, and Latin America, but we do not have geographical restrictions to implement our solution as long as we have data availability. We have ongoing projects with large energy suppliers and buyers such as Acciona, Total Energies, Iberdrola, and Eneco. As well as public projects with energy buyers such as Microsoft and Vodafone.

What is your USP, how do you stand out from your competition?
We are the first company to offer corporate energy consumers the ability to critically analyse their electricity procurement practices and guide them, step by step, towards consuming carbon-free electricity every hour of the day, everywhere. This is what is now globally known as 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy (CFE). The United Nations have recognised the importance of this goal and have founded the UN 24/7 CFE Compact in partnership with Google, in which FlexiDAO are one of the early signatories.

We are recognised as a leading company in regards to the use of blockchain technology in the energy sector. Our software is integrated with national data hubs for metering data and regional issuing bodies for the automation of data collection and the management of energy certificate lifecycles. In addition, we are official validators for the Energy Web Foundation.

We are also the only company of our kind to be compliant with both current energy certification schemes and EnergyTag guidelines for granular certification (GC). EnergyTag is an industry-led initiative to define and build a market for hourly electricity certificates that enables energy users to verify the source of their electricity and carbon emissions in real-time.

What is your relationship with the telecom sector?
The telecom sector is in a unique position to fight climate change. It will enable digitisation which will reduce emissions in other sectors. Green telecom companies that make the switch to cleaner energy, can make an impact by providing carbon-free communication and networking for customers. Thus, we have identified the telecom industry as the one which will have a high environmental impact, and we want to partner with telecoms to help them on their journey.

By partnering with FlexiDAO, telecoms can overcome barriers before embarking on their 24/7 carbon-free energy journey. For example, our telecom clients in the past have invested more than 100 hours per year manually obtaining their electricity data, processing it, and getting auditor approval. This process included interacting with their local energy supplier to get confirmation of the volume and type of energy certificates that were cancelled. Now multiply this by the more than 10,000 energy consumption sites (e.g. antennas) that many telecoms use. This makes data collection especially time-consuming and error prone.

FlexiDAO’s software gathers all of the energy usage data and certificates and stores them on one single dashboard, along with location-based and market-based emissions data. This eases the data collection process and saves time on Scope 2 reporting. It can be a smart first step towards sourcing renewable energy around-the-clock, 24/7. After all, you can’t manage what you don't measure.

How have you got to your current stage of development?
Currently, our main investors are SET Ventures, InnoEnergy, and Rockstart. We have also won several important accelerator programmes like the AWS Clean Energy Accelerator program, Acciona’s I'motivation startup accelerator program, and the New Energy Challenge sponsored by Shell. Through these programmes, we have gained investment and pilot projects to prove our capacity to deliver worldwide our cutting-edge software solution. We are now very focused on paving the way for a fundraising round, which is a very time-consuming phase for a company like ours.

Why did you establish the business?
It all started with a masters thesis for university. The co-founders Simone Accornero and Grzegorz Bytniewski were very interested and had acquired knowledge on blockchain technology. They were also extremely passionate about the environment and wanted to use their skills to innovate a very traditional energy sector. The idea of a decentralised energy system was emerging and they decided to investigate more for their thesis. Eventually, the concept of matching the production and consumption of renewable energy on an hourly basis was founded.

This concept really stems from the current lack of transparency that the grid and the energy suppliers offer to the end consumer of renewable energy. Consumers do not know the exact moment of the day when they are consuming renewable electricity or non-renewable electricity, since the grid is mixed with both sources of energy. Therefore companies cannot accurately claim that they are running on completely carbon-free sources of electricity every day, despite being allowed to claim they are 100% renewable on an annual basis through the purchasing of renewable energy certificates. By matching consumption with production on an hourly basis, companies will be able to report their renewable energy consumption with the highest form of transparency and credibility possible.

What does the future hold for your business?
The market of hourly energy matching and reporting is at its infancy and is expected to boom in the coming 5 years. The key drivers for that change will be the following:

1. Competitive pressure: companies like Google, Microsoft, and Iron Mountain already have a 24/7 carbon free energy target. Other companies will have to follow in order not to lose the sustainability race and continue to attract talent, sell more, and meet shareholders' environmental demands.

2. Regulatory pressure: new regulations such as Renewable Energy Directive II in the EU are already defining the concept of “fully renewable” as having “temporal” and geographic correlation with a renewable energy plant. For now this will only be applied to producers of Renewable Fuels of Non Biological Origin (RFNBO). Still, it might soon put further pressure on other industries, which could face a change in the Scope 2 reporting guidelines. Some companies are already lobbying for this Scope 2 reporting change.

3. End customer demand: the broader public will not accept emission compensations more and more. Transparent proof of emission elimination will be key for the mass population when buying products with Co2 tags.

In view of the shift to a more granular energy certification scheme, we are positioning ourselves as the leading 24/7 CFE software providers. We expect to reach full scale in 2-3 years from now, since it's the time we believe it will take for corporations to follow the 24/7 actions of Google and Microsoft and for regulation to start pushing for hourly matching.

By 2030, we expect 24/7 CFE to become a household term, and equivalent to today’s corporate claim of 100% renewable.

Based: Barcelona, Spain and Amsterdam, NL
Employees: 20
Last funding type: Equity
URL: www.flexidao.com
Founders:
Simone Accornero 
Grzegorz Bytniewski 
Joan Collell 

Total Telecom now hosts startup zones at many of our events in the UK and overseas. To discover the opportunities and if you qualify, email info@totaltele.com

 

Since you're here...

...the Telecoms industry is characterised by constant change and evolution. That's why it's crucial for telecoms professionals to keep up-to-date with what is happening. Join 35,000+ of your peers and sign up to our free newsletter service today, to be in the know about what is going on. PLUS, as a member you can submit your own press releases!

See all membership options

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Newsletter signup

Quickly get on board and up to date with the telecoms industry