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Pitch

A blockchain-based transactive micro-grid system that harnesses affordable, clean and sustainable energy from the sun, wind and the grid.


Description

Summary

Utilicom is a blockchain-based transactive micro-grid system that takes energy from the sun, wind or the grid during the day, stores it and uses it during peak times to extract the maximum from existing and new sustainable energy assets. The smart micro-grid system allows power producers to provide grid-scale power on-demand in the heavy-use peak hours, and allows consumers to maximize their access to sustainable energy and better control bills while adding capacity to the grid and minimizing distribution losses.

  • Big Opportunity: Resegmenting an existing $60B regional power market as a disruptive and sustaining player
  • Strong Team: Deep market/technology/execution experience
  • Sustainable Technology Advantage: Proprietary blockchain smart contract
  • Significant Traction: Working prototype/customer discovery/customer validation
  • Seeking $50,000 to launch the company and 100kW / 400kWh pilot module
  • Addressing SGDs:
    • Affordable and Clean Energy (#7)
    • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (#9)
    • Climate Action (#13)
    • Sustainable Cities and Communities (#11)
    • Responsible Consumption and Production (#12)


What actions do you propose?

PROBLEM

In sub-Sahara Africa today, the grid often relies on very few power sources and doesn’t provide enough information on production and usage. You cannot manage fluctuations in loads and voltages for every distribution feeder, or coordinate Distributed Energy Resources with transmission and centralized generation resources. The amount of electricity being produced needs to be balanced with the amount being consumed; any excess energy generated is wasted. Energy producers and users cannot buy it directly from each other and must go through the public grids.

SOLUTION

Utilicom provides turn-key Intelligent Grid deployment on the Ethereum blockchain, with fully-distributed power generation, storage, and IoT-enabled devices; smart meters and smart plugs connected via high-speed wireless communications and operating under Smart Contracts:

  • Users can buy and sell electricity to each other in a decentralized way.
  • User can completely go off the grid if they already have wind turbines or solar panels or, if they are on the grid, store energy when it's cheaper and use it when the rate is higher or, when an interruption occurs.
  • User can stack up multiple batteries and plug-in additional smart meters and smart plugs depending on their unique energy needs.
  • User can smooth-out the output of renewable energy sources such as hydro, wind and solar, and provide power and energy capacity to the grid as a standalone asset.
  • Users can reroute electricity around damaged circuits and restore power automatically to as many connections as possible before repairs take place.

PRODUCT

Summary of System Specifications:

  • AC Voltage 380 to 480V, 3 phases
  • Energy Capacity 210 kWh (AC) per Module
  • Power 50kW (AC) per Module
  • Scalable Inverter Power from 50kVA to 625kVA (at 480V)
  • System Efficiency (AC) * 88% round-trip (2 hour system) 89% round-trip (4 hour system)
  • Depth of Discharge 100%
  • Cost of Added Power / Energy Capacity $500,000 per 1MW / 4.2MWh system (from 1 to 2,000 new connections)
  • New Connections Added from 1 to 100 per Module

BUSINESS MODEL

Utilicom derives revenue from power storage and supplied to utilities, commercial businesses, independent power producers and power plants through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), under which Utilicom will build, finance, own, operate and maintain the battery systems and power plants, and customers will purchase the power generated by the system without the burden of more traditional asset ownership.

Utilicom also provides a performance guarantee in the form of a Capacity Maintenance Agreement (CMA) that will ensure a minimum amount of system energy available that customers can utilize each year during the term of the PPA.

Storage is contracted under a solar PPA model with an embedded 10-year term Capacity Services Exhibit. The exhibit outlines that buyers will pay Utilicom a fixed monthly Capacity Services Charge that is competitive with avoided ISO-NE capacity charges.

MARKET

The total installed capacity for all SADC member states is more than 60, 670 MW. Mainland SADC member states had installed capacity of 59,539 Megawatts (MW) and operating capacity of 54,397 MW as of the end of April 2017 against peak demand of around 53,478 MW (SAPP). With more than 600 million people living without access to electricity, sub-Sahara Africa’s power sector is significantly underdeveloped, be it in terms of energy access, installed capacity, or overall consumption. In 2017, the public utility company in Zambia ZESCO, powering 23% of the population, spent $502 million to purchase 519MW of power from independent producers to meet local demand. A fully-distributed transactive grid system could increase supply by a factor of 2; add an estimated 500MW of additional power to the grid or save $250 million in Zambia alone.

  • Utilities: Get 2MW for the price of 1MW; dispatchable energy when you need it most.
  • Power Producers: Maximize capacity and return on assets through dynamic capacity, voltage and reactive power support for utilities and consumers
  • Residential and small business consumers: Get a self-powered building; take greater control of your energy and eliminate interruptions from blackouts.
  • Rural and Peri-Urban Communities: Maximize access to sustainable energy for all with fully-distributed resources to meet your unique power and energy capacity needs.
  • Commercial and Industrial consumers: Minimize peak demand charges and eliminate interruptions from blackouts; maximize long term savings by reducing expensive diesel and utility costs.

COMPETITION

UTILICOM’s competitive advantage over competitors is threefold:

a) Cutting Edge: Utilicom allows users to buy and sell energy from each other in a decentralized way, allowing it to address markets not served by the grid and entrench itself in the market versus traditional centralized grids,

b) Scalable: Utilicom’s flexible and infinitely scalable modular layout system scales to the space, power and energy requirements of any site, from small and commercial businesses to regional utilities. It can be configured in various arrangements, offering far more modularity than competing models. Users can build what they need now, and if peak demand grows, they can add more. Utilicom does not tie up capital like the traditional power plants do,

c) Turn-Key: Utilicom is a fully integrated, AC-connected solution with a thermal control system, sensors that monitor and report on cell level performance, and Ethernet-based protocols to analyze risk on critical grid assets and enforce layered IT controls to protect those assets, including monitoring for security events and maintaining contingency plans for cyber-attacks.

GROWTH

MARKETING & SALES

Acquiring customers:           

  • Online marketing inc. SEM, SEO, SMM, daily deals
  • Refer-a-friend discounts for consumers
  • Volume/loyalty discounts for consumers and independent power producer
  • Incentive program for HR and office managers   

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Keeping customers:

  • Dedicated customer service representatives for each DMA
  • Utilicom staffed community message board for consumer (public) and grid managers (login required)   

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Staying competitive:

  • Customer Development Advisory Board to drive consumer features
  • Product Development Advisory Board to drive grid features
  • Add Smart Contracts
  • Add Atomic Swap


Who will take these actions?

The Utilicom Transactive Smart Grid is targeting to add 100kW / 400kWh dynamic capacity to the main grid in Zambia. The national public utility, ZESCO will be engaged in the pilot through a Power Purchase Agreement. The proposed actions will be implemented by Utilicom Energy Systems LLC, , working together in collaboration with key stakeholders who include:

  • Utilities
  • Independent Power Producers
  • Power Storage OEMs
  • Solar OEMs
  • Wind Farm OEMs
  • Regional and local energy authorities.
  • Telcos
  • Payment providers


Where will these actions be taken?

Utilicom is best suited for communities and cities around the world without access to sustainable energy. The proposed 100kW / 400 kWh micro-grid will be deployed in Lusaka, Zambia.


What are other key benefits?

Our impact assessment methodology is used to validate and test the linkages from our activities (inputs) through to our outputs, outcomes and impact.

Input/Activity: Utilicom adds batteries, sensors and software to the grid and provides automated grid services to the operator and consumers.

Output: A transactive grid is developed with better power management and access to new information about production and consumption; unavailable capacity is brought back online.

Outcome: Capacity is added to the grid, power losses are reduced and service level increased; duration and frequency of power interruptions are reduced.

Impact: Access to electricity is increased, and the financial viability of the power sector is improved, with multiple benefits; increased investment in generation and grid expansion; improved livelihoods, health, nutrition and education.

We measure and test the scope of our impacts and share “lessons learned” to inform future development and investment decisions.


What are the proposal’s costs?

SUMMARY

Travel and Transportation: $2,500

Product Development: $45,000

Training: $2,000

Lab Supplies: $500

TOTAL: $50,000

NARRATIVE

Utilicom is currently seeking $50,000 seed funding. These funds will be used to test and implement the 100kW / 400kWh Transactive Smart Micro-Grid module during the 2018 dry season, July - September. Once the first phase of the Transactive Smart Grid pilot has been completed, Utilicom will continue to refine and scale up this innovation within Zambia and other countries.

  • Bootstrapped by founder through MVP and first 6 months
  • Seeking $50,000 Seed Funding:
    • Convertible equity
    • Target close by EOQ2 2018
  • So we can:
    • Add 100kW / 400MWh dynamic capacity to the grid
    • Demonstrate how distributed energy resources can be coordinated by the utility to optimize electricity distribution planning and operations.
    • Scale/refine marketing/customer acquisition
    • Scale customer service (IPPs)
    • Scale infrastructure


Time line

In May 2018, the Utilicom Transactive Smart Grid was created. The Smart Grid is targeting to add 1MW dynamic capacity to the main grid in Zambia in 2018Q4. The Utilicom business model is designed to become sustainable once it reaches the break-even point after two to three years. Until then, new partnerships and additional investments will contribute to the expansion within Zambia, further testing in new countries, effective knowledge management, continued app development and maintenance of the grid.


Related proposals


References

Why are 600 million Africans still without power? - CNN - CNN.com. https://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/01/africa/africa-state-of-electricity-feat/index.html

Zambia Energy Sector Overview. https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica/zambia

Zesco to spend $502m on 519MW electricity – Zambia Daily Mail. https://www.daily-mail.co.zm/zesco-to-spend-502m-on-519mw-electricity/

Zesco in $480 million loss – Zambia Daily Mail. https://www.daily-mail.co.zm/zesco-480-million-loss/ 

State of Electricity Access Report (SEAR) 2017 - World Bank Group. www.worldbank.org/en/topic/energy/publication/sear