As the fight to slow down climate change continues, new kinds of challenges emerge in the power sector. Renewable energy sources are the only sustainable path to cover our ever-increasing need for energy in the long run. The share of renewable energy sources has indeed rapidly increased in recent years. And, if some not-so-rational climate denialists don’t succeed to turn humankind back to the 18th century, the trend is likely to continue. Green energy is here to stay.
The growing share of renewable energy sources, variable solar and wind power in particular, means drastic changes in the power sector. The power sector is being transferred in fundamental ways, not just technically, but also in terms of policy such as markets, finance and institutions. This means new challenges to electricity companies but also brings a range of new opportunities and business models for the ones ready to take action.
A key challenge of the power sector is the question of how to integrate higher shares of renewable energy. This problem known as “grid integration challenge” has many aspects but perhaps the most important one is the grid flexibility. The electrical grid has one very special feature – the supply and consumption must be equal at all times. If this demand is not met, the grid becomes unstable and eventually some of us are left without electricity – a scenario which is not so pleasant in the modern days.
Grid flexibility requires actions on both sides of the market. Power suppliers contribute with innovations in flexible conventional power generation and energy storages, whereas the demand side contributes with distributed resources like flexible demand, micro generation and electric vehicles. Especially flexible demand is something that everyone of us should already consider in our daily lives.
Flexible demand means adjusting your own electricity consumption. If you can decide when to plug in your most power hungry devices, you can adjust your electricity demand to the hours of cheap electricity and significantly cut down your monthly bill. This may seem like an unpleasant task, but it doesn’t have to be. Karhu Voima, a new kind of energy service company from south-eastern Finland, has tackled the issue and provides a number of ways to cut down your energy consumption and to make it more flexible. Karhu Voima provides a smart app to track and plan your electricity demand, allowing customers to identify and also change their habits. With Karhu Voima’s services, you can plan your power demand in advance minimizing your electricity bill.
Karhu Voima is a great example of the new kind of thinking emerging from the transfer of the power sector. “Karhu Voima was born to challenge the unspoken rules of the energy market and embrace the fundamental changes of the power sector” says Sanna Kytömäki, the CEO of Karhu Voima. There are also actions and proof to back these words. 100 per cent of the electricity sold by Karhu Voima is produced with renewable energy sources and their product portfolio includes multiple modern services to reduce the customer’s carbon footprint and, of course, the electricity bill.
The forward march of solar and wind power does not only change how electricity is generated, but also where. The focus of large centralized power plants is switching to more decentralized and distributed power stations. At the same time the roles of electricity supplier and consumer get hazy, as anyone of us can start a green power generation on our rooftops.
“We here at Karhu Voima want to change the way how energy is treated. We want to offer our customers a way to be a part of the change – whether it be changing your habits or having your own solar panels, it is our mission to provide the tools. Giving power to the people, one might say” says Sami Markkanen – Member of the Board at Karhu Voima. As a part of this take-action attitude Karhu Voima is organizing a Hackathon innovation competition together with *ship – The Startup Festival. “We want to invite all the bright and open minded people to take part in our Online Challenge where we innovate new solutions to answer the challenges of tomorrow’s energy market. Be part of the challenge. Be part of the change.”
Register for the Karhu Voima Challange HERE!
Author: Aletta is a newly graduate Service and Product Designer focusing on partnerships and producing the Online Partner Challenges. She thinks creativity is discovering new ways of looking at problems and opportunities.
With the support of ely Growth Project: