Kaluza turns to Google Cloud to drive down emissions through data-based efficiency upgrades

UK tech firm Kaluza has today (18 August) revealed that it has turned to real-time emissions data from Google Cloud to help inform internal carbon footprint tools that help to streamline processes and slash emissions, as the company strives to become carbon negative by 2030.

Kaluza turns to Google Cloud to drive down emissions through data-based efficiency upgrades

Kaluza was able to reduce the emissions of its query activities by 97%

Kaluza is an intelligent energy platform with the ability to connect and control millions of smart domestic devices to enhance the energy system with untapped flexibility. It uses AI and machine learning to optimise smart devices by analysing consumer behaviours and real-time market signals including grid supply, weather and pricing data to activate storage systems and chargers. Exercising this control at scale, Kaluza creates flexibility to help alleviate grid pressures at peak times.

The company has a goal in place of becoming carbon negative by 2030. This, the company claims, will require Kaluza platforms and solutions to avoid the production of 10 million tonnes of carbon, reach 100 million energy users and reduce the energy of its retail clients by 50%.

The company has today confirmed how it has utilised emissions data from Google Cloud applications like the Carbon Footprint platform to help drive efficiencies on the road the carbon negativity.

Google is notably aiming to “fully develop and widely deploy” a tool that will enable governments, businesses and energy system operators to track renewable electricity generation and consumption in real-time. The tech giant launched the tool, called ‘Time-Based Energy Attribute Certificates’ (T-EACs), last March. The aim of the tool is to improve clean energy certification. Google is also working with EnergyTag to demonstrate the viability of verifying clean electricity supply on an hourly basis in order to provide accurate 24/7 data.

Currently most energy attribute certificates – known as Guarantees of Origin (GOs) in Europe, Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in the US and Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs) in the UK – are issued for each unit (MWh) of clean energy production. Most companies purchase these certificates in order to meet annual demands, meaning the production of green energy is accounted for on annual levels. What this fails to cover is the volatility of clean energy supply.

Kaluza has developed an internal carbon footprint tool that used Google Cloud data to track the impact of its cloud usage. This, in turn, has been able to identify areas where usage can be drastically reduced. For example. Kaluza has been able to turn numerous cloud-based and carbon hungry query lists into one singular action, by combining this with half-hourly electricity usage information it also has access to Kaluza can choose the optimal time to run this query when emissions from electricity sourcing are at its lowest. In the scenario listed above, Kaluza has delivered a 90% reduction in emissions from its query lists, from 200kg of CO2 to 6kg.

“Choosing a cleaner cloud and a cleaner cloud region to run workloads is one of the simplest and most effective ways we can reduce our carbon emissions. Fortunately, Google Cloud publishes carbon data for all cloud regions. This includes the average percentage of carbon free energy consumed in that particular location on an hourly basis and the grid carbon intensity of the local electricity grid,” Kaluza’s sustainability manager Tom Mallett said in a blog post.

“By digging into the data, we can identify cloud waste and take action. For example, while many of our workloads have to run throughout the day, not all of them have to run at certain times. This creates potential for optimization. We’re using data from Google Cloud to understand the state of our workloads. By combining this information with carbon intensity data from the grid, we can identify and reschedule workloads to lower intensity times, and have a positive impact on Kaluza’s emissions.”

V2G applications

Kaluza has also confirmed that it has introduced Google Cloud solutions across the world’s first and largest domestic vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trials alongside OVO Energy and Nissan.

The firms first began the trial, which covered 320 homes, in 2018. V2G technologies of various kinds, programmed to provide grid balancing services through Ovo Energy’s Kaluza smart energy platform, were offered to motorists with electric vehicle (EV) models including the Nissan Leaf and e-NV200.

On average, it was found that individuals with one-way smart chargers saved £120 on their annual electricity bill, with this figure rising to £340 for basic V2G charging. When the Kaluza smart platform was programmed to offer different response patterns, the savings benefit rose to up to £725.

Through the trials, drivers can charge EVs when the grid is brimming with green electricity and then sell back when supply is short. Kaluza is now using Google Cloud to optimise the data for this scenario and “turning millions of cars into dynamic batteries”. Kaluza claims that in some markets, such as California, this optimised approach could reduce grid demand at peak times by up to 40%.

The company won edie’s Technology Innovation Award in 2020. You can find out why here.

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