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Kiwi Power Enters North American Market With Texas Pilot Project

image credit: Stephen Marty, chief commercial officer at Kiwi Power

UK-based energy technology company Kiwi Power has entered the North American market through deployments of its Virtual Power Plants (VPP) software, which enables utilities to manage demand side response, in Texas and Ontario. 

In Texas, the company has collaborated with French utility and investor ENGIE North America for a project to enable participation of the company’s behind-the-meter (BTM) battery fleet for price arbitrage in the state’s ERCOT market. According to a press release, Kiwi Power also has plans to enter the PJM market in the future. The company’s Ontario foray is a collaboration with Lakeland Power. “Our relationship with Kiwi Power will enable Lakeland Power to work very closely with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to create economic solutions for our future energy flexibility needs,” stated Vince Kulchyki, chief operating officer of Lakeland Holding Ltd. 

At first glance, deployment of BTM batteries may seem like a challenging prospect in a generation landscape dominated by natural gas. But ERCOT’s low reserve margin requirements in recent years have also created a market opportunity for demand resource assets, such as battery storage, that can provide power up quickly and for short durations. Such assets can be pressed into action during times of peak demand, when prices are highest, ensuring profits for suppliers. ERCOT also established a Battery Energy Storage Task Force (BESTF) last year to identify issues with integration of battery storage and specify technical and other requirements of these assets for the grid. 

Stephan Marty, Kiwi’s chief commercial officer, told Greentech Media that their company was adding up on load in ERCOT. “... that load could be on an index-linked contract to reach to surprise situations,” he said. The addition of load has the potential to impact prices. “You can think of it as an insurance for high prices,” he said. Kiwi Power and ENGIE also intend to use their partnership to seek opportunities in ERCOT’s ancillary services market. “Our technology platform enables us to do both - and we have the possibility to do one thing at one point in time and another thing at another point in time,” said Marty. 

Kiwi Power already has substantial experience with growing the market for demand side response from its experience in Europe. The company, which began operations in 2009, counts an assortment of large companies and governments as its customers. Marty told Utility Dive that they were “dragged” over to the other side of the pond due to the “cusp of” energy transition taking place in North America. The multiplication in numbers of renewable energy project deployments coupled with FERC’s order 841, that directed Independent System Operators (ISO) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO) to develop strategies and rules for integration of battery storage, has created a viable future market for their products.

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