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Major new Gridcog service: Closing the loop on the clean energy transition

We’re thrilled to announce a major new Gridcog service.

Our mission is to accelerate investment in the clean energy transition. We do this by delivering confidence in project outcomes with modelling capability that absolutely leads the market in terms of breadth, flexibility, and accuracy.

Up until today, we’ve been focussed on pre-investment simulation and optimisation, which we call Gridcog Planning; helping our clients design and develop optimal energy projects. But we believe our missions extends across the entire project lifecycle.

Today we’re closing the loop on pre-investment simulation and optimisation by announcing the release of Gridcog Tracking.

Tracking is designed to provide asset owners, operators and investors with independent commercial performance monitoring and assurance across multi-site and multi-asset portfolios.

This includes front-of-meter, behind-the-meter, and microgrid projects and covers the full reange of clean energy resources including solar, wind, storage, EV charging, EV fleets, load flexibility, and gensets.

“Your investment case assumed certain commercial outcomes, but now that your assets are deployed, how are they performing? Are you getting the optimal commercial returns? If not, why not, and what do you do about it?”

By providing visibility of project outcomes, we are enhancing confidence in project decision making, assuring project outcomes, and informing pro-active actions to improve performance, including support you with:

  • investigating physical asset performance;
  • reviewing asset optimisation and controls;
  • exploring new value streams to target;
  • updating the project development pipeline;
  • reviewing project modelling assumptions;

The last point is important: having access to real-world technical and commercial performance results integrated into your project modelling tool will allow you to improve the accuracy of your pre-investment planning models. You can use this data to update commercial and technical assumptions and re-calibrate models.

All of this requires the data, analysis, and insights delivered by Gridcog Tracking.

Gridcog Tracking

How does Tracking work?

We create a digital twin of each site and each asset in your portfolio and continuously and automatically update three models you can compare:

  1. Baseline performance (automatically ‘backing-out’ the assets you have deployed so we can report on the counter-factual of what the commercial outcome would have been)
  2. Actual performance (integrating real site and asset performance data to calculate the actual commercial outcomes you are achieving)
  3. Model performance (using the same market-leading asset models we use for pre-investment analysis to report on what commercial outcome you could or should have achieved)

We can do this because Gridcog now has a flexible data integration platform. We can ingest site meter data and asset telemetry data into your Tracking project models. This data can come from your site controller, energy management system, or optimisation platform; or straight from the cloud APIs of your individual inverter-based energy systems

Gridcog also automatically collates the actual solar irradiance and actual market prices your sites are exposed. This means commercial calculations are accurate and comparative performance models are useful. While it makes sense to use TMY solar irradiance models and estimated forward price curves to create cashflow forecasts to support investment decisions, you need to use actual irradiance and actual price data to track and report on delivered performance.

And just like our Planning models, Tracking can include multi-stakeholder assessments, calculating and presenting the delivered outcomes for all the parties to your project: asset owners, customers, market participant (supplier/aggregator), microgrid/embeded network operator, etc.

This is important because the commercial arrangements for modern clean energy projects can be complex with different cost and revenue sharing arrangements.

Why is Tracking important?

We believe Gridcog Tracking fills a vitally important hole in the clean energy transition landscape.

Traditionally clean energy resources were large-scale stand-alone solar farms or wind farms, or small-scale un-orchestrated roof-top solar systems.

When you owned or operated just a few large-scale assets you could afford to have a commercial team tracking and reporting on their performance in Excel, and this wasn’t too hard to do: energy production multiplied by a price. And to a rough approximation, no one has been looking closely at the real commercial outcomes being achieved from roof-top solar.

But the world is now more complex. The dance card of clean energy resources has expanded to include battery storage, electric vehicles, and flexible loads. And because of transmission and distribution network constraints and network-use-of-service costs, you can only achieve optimal commercial returns by co-locating and co-optimising energy resources.

In the behind-the-meter space this means virtual power plants and microgrids, and in front-of-the-meter this means co-located solar, wind and battery storage.

Tracking and reporting on the performance of clean energy portfolios is now much harder. This difficulty arises for three main reasons:

  1. Size and scale: Assets are distributed across many sites and are exposed to different locational pricing, both network and market-related.
  2. Dynamics: There's a need to understand how these resources interact with each other, with any co-located load, and with network connection limits and loss-factors.
  3. Value stack: There is a large stack of value streams available to these assets: wholesale energy markets, system capacity, ancillary services, network support services/local flexibility markets, network service costs, and more

Collecting and aggregating performance data across larger-scale and mixed-technology asset portfolios is also increasingly challenging. It's very difficult to gain a unified view across all your assets because of the need to collate and standardise the data, and to the need to deal with inevitable data issues by intelligently interpolating gaps caused by late or missing data.

By providing independent performance monitoring and assurance, asset owners can choose the best operational technology for each project and have access to an independent and objective assessment of how operational control systems are performing.

Without Gridcog Tracking there is no way to close the loop between the investment case and real-world performance, there is no way to identify and remediate under performance, and there is no fact base to calibrate and improve your planning models to support subsequent investment decisions.

Building confidence in your asset portfolio

If you are interested in taking a look at Gridcog Tracking to build confidence in the commercial returns you are achieving from your clean energy asset portfolio, and are potentially being an early user of Tracking then reach out to me on LinkedIn, or contact us for a demo.

Pete Tickler
August 18, 2023
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Gridcog Team Retreat, Bali 2024

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