On 20th of October 2018 Electricity Exchange's MD. Paddy Finn was featured on Newstalk's, Down to Business with host Bobby Kerr to discuss Electricity Exchange and the upcoming EoY awards. While accompanied by Pat Rigney of The Shed Distillery of P.J. Rigney, another EoY 2018 Finalist, and Peaches Kemp of itsa Group, the three guests discussed their own businesses and how to take your business to the next level.
Follow the link here to listen to the show in full. For those of you not able to listen, the interview is transcribed in full below after a short summary of the show.
With the EoY awards fast approaching, it was fantastic to hear Paddy and the other guests discuss topics including how they grew their business, key decisions they took and the important role of having a partner or mentor that can add greater benefits to your busines.
During the segment Paddy spoke about the importance of innovation and described the mutually beneficial relationship that exists between Electricity Exchange and Bord na Mona, a partnership which began in 2016.
Discussing the mutual benefits of having a partner like Bord na Mona, Paddy said, they are “the sharpest tool in our armoury for foreign markets”, with a globally recognised brand like Bord na Mona, Electricity Exchange now has immediate access to some of the largest players in the global energy market. Referencing Bord na Mona's ambition to become carbon neutral, Paddy pointed to the benefit our partner receives saying “Bord na Mona want to develop more wind infrastructure and the technologies we bring to the grid allows the grid to use more wind”.
By deploying technologies like Electricity Exchange's IoTAS on large energy users' premises throughout Ireland, the transmission system operator, EirGrid, can safely increase the amount of wind utilised on the grid at any one time. This allows suppliers like Bord na Mona to produce more wind while maintaining the grids security.
It was very exciting listening to the discussion, especially as the Ernest and Young, 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards will be televised in less than a week.
The awards will be televised on RTE 1 at 11:25 p.m. on Thursday 25th of October.
I'll ask you Paddy if you would, to tell us a little bit about your business Electricity Exchange.
Good morning Bobby, Electricity Exchange we're a virtual power plant and that's a bit of a novel concept to a lot of people, so what we actually do is we turn electricity consumers into electricity generators.
So large industries have back-up generators that sit idle 90% of the time and even supermarkets have fridges that can shut off for short periods of time to make their power available to other electricity users like you and me. So, we can control hundreds of sites like these all around the country.
And you can move excess electricity to other places and they can be paid for it.
Exactly. By controlling them all together we achieve the same net effect as a large power plant, but we've never had to pour an ounce of concrete or erect a single pylon.
It's an interesting business.
Yes, we can generate as much power as Ardnacrusha power plant at this stage and we're still growing.
The concept is very innovative. You've done something quite strategic in that you've partnered with Bord na Mona. Has that partnership allowed you to grow to the next level, to scale up?
The partnership we made with Bord na Mona in 2016, really, it's the sharpest tool in our armoury for foreign markets. Bord na Mona is incredibly innovative and they are changing, they're obviously a very carbon intensive business at the moment but their whole future strategy is around changing to being carbon neutral and reducing the reliance of power stations, so we fit in there for that. The major benefit with Bord na Mona is that if Paddy Finn, Electricity Exchange wanted to get a meeting with China Power, the biggest utility in the world, I'd be waiting 3 years with Bord na Mona I'd only wait 3 weeks so that's where it's fantastic.
That's why I'm saying I think that's an incredibly shrewd tactic because we're talking about growing your business to the next level, could I suggest that partnership, however it's worked out, has allowed you to do that?
Absolutely it really has. Bord na Mona is such a trusted brand that basically we benefit from that by association but we also bring benefits to Bord na Mona because the technologies we're developing are new and also allows them to develop out their wind infrastructure and the technologies that we bring to the grid, allows the grid to use more wind so Bord na Mona can sell more of it. So, it's actually a nice marriage there.
Going back to the issue of scaling up, in terms of, like you're dealing with electricity. Is there ever going to be a time when we will be able to store electricity. Can you store it?
You can store it but in terms of the batteries that you need to store it at a great scale are huge, absolutely enormous so what we specialise in is actually changing when customers use power. To get them to use power at times when there's a lot of availability of energy.
So, during the night or whatever.
Yes, so for example if instead of turning on your dishwasher, instead of telling it to start, you tell it when you need it to be finished. Then the dishwasher can optimise when it needs to actually run and pick the best time.
It's amazing isn't it.
The best thing is when there's lots of renewables on the grid, they drive the prices really low, so you'll end up using loads of renewables and saving lots of money on your power. So, its whatever is the opposite of what a double-edged sword is. That's it.
I should tell listeners as well that the EY Entrepreneur of the Year gala awards taking place this Thursday 25th October in City West. Newstalk i.e. myself will be broadcasting live to help capture the atmosphere of the day. The award ceremony is also being broadcast on RTE1 at 11:15p.m. that same night. We're looking forward to it, it's going to be a great week. I'd like to thank my guests Paddy Finn from Electricity Exchange, loads more to come. Stay tuned.