Impact Hub Manila Fellowship

OneWatt: Use Fluctuations in the Electricity Spot Market to Save on Energy Bills

The Philippines has one of the most expensive electricity rates in Asia. Because of this, electric bills become a significant cost to everyone, be it residential, commercial or industrial. However, the price also fluctuates considerably throughout a day, costing as low as around 1Php per KWH during off-peak to around 70Php per KWH during peak hours. This is largely due to the large very high spikes in demand which necessitates usage of inefficient, usually fossil fuel guzzling plants.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zV-o1Y_Nt_g

Who faces this problem?

Commercial and Industrial establishments consume a lot more than residential; and their peak usage also coincide with the peak prices, more so than residential. This eats significantly into their revenue as they cannot employ many energy saving methods without hurting their businesses.

How does your idea address this problem?

OneWatt is a system that allows an establishment to store energy during off peak hours, when the electricity is very cheap, and deploy the energy when the grid electricity prices are at their peak. Doing this could theoretically save an establishment up to 40% on electricity bills. The same system also provides a certain level of protection against power outages due to the stored energy. In addition, with enough adoption, this lowers the 'peak demand' during a day, thus lessening our need to employ less efficient power plants.

What’s new and unique about your idea?

In the Philippines, Meralco offers a POP (peak - off/peak) system that allows an establishment to have different pricing during peak and off peak hours. However in order for an establishment to save theyw ill need to change their behavior and use electricity only during offpeak hours, which for a business, is not very viable. Our system does not need the establishment to change their usage as the system will do the necessary storing and switching automatically and seamlessly.Similar undertakings here and other countries on doing energy storage on the grid level (e.g. dams, thermal storage etc) but doing so would require a lot more of infrastructure , investment and real estate. Doing it on a distributed model allows for a slow adoption of the same concept while reaping the benefits right away.

How are you going to earn money?

The business will is monetized in two ways:1) by a minimal subscription fee - for 24/7 support and access to the real time monitoring system.2) via shared savings - by this model, the customer is assured that them saving is also the best interest for us. 

Do you already have customers?

No. we are still testing our prototype and working around the necessary regulations in order to tap into the Electricity Spot Market. We will need capital both to scale up our prototype to full scale and to satisfy necessary regulations.We however have tested our working prototype on the small scale and it is working as expected so far.

Who is in your team?

Em Bueta - based in Quezon City Philippines. Graduate of Electronics and Communications Engineering from UP Diliman. Has worked in the tech industry for the past 6 years as a software engineer. Worked with several several startups for the past 2 years here and abroad. Leads the software dev.

Pao Samontanez - based in Mandaluyong City Philippines. Cum laude of Electronics and Communications Engineering from UP Diliman. Has skill in designing embedded systems and backend servers. Has worked in and co-founded several startups in the PH and SG. Recently nominated as a developer hero for the 2016 Asian Rice Bowl Awards in the Philippines.

Tin Quirante - based in Makati City, Philippines. Graduated BS MBB from UP Diliman. Worked for 2 years in Research & Development before running their family business. Handles day to day operations.

Min Morga - based in Manila City, Philippines. Graduated from BS CS from De La Salle University. With 7 years background working for corporate. Handles the sales and marketing.

Have you already founded/incorporated your company?

No

What is the intended positive impact on the environment and/or society of your venture?

As mentioned earlier, high peaks in electricity usage means high usage of fossil fuels. If we are able to flatten usage throughout the day, this could mean more reliance on always on clean energy instead of burning additional fossil fuels to satisfy demand.

How will the Fellowship Program enable you to achieve your ambitions?

We will need help in finding capital as hardware related projects are more costly than purely software ones. The fellowship program could also connect us with potential high electricity using clients that can benefit from our system or people in the know who can help us with the navigation the regulations. Once we've secured the seed funding we can now build a full scale setup ready to be installed in our partner establishment. 

Are you living in the Philippines?

Yes

edited on 23rd July 2016, 17:07 by Paolo Samontanez

suikofan II Jun 27, 2016

This looks interesting. Good luck.

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Deesha Chandra Jun 27, 2016

Interesting idea Em, how does using it during the day use less fossil fuels? Will the storage of electricity come from sustainable methods such as solar etc?

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Em Bueta Jun 27, 2016

Thanks Deesha.

During off peak hours, a sizable chunk of the energy is from always-on cleaner energy sources ( geothermal, water etc.) as the peak usage gets higher we move to more expensive electricity (that can be produced on demand, i.e. burning fuel), typically oil.

Right now solar is not yet very popular in the Philippines to make a dent but we also setup the system to work painlessly with any 3rd party energy source so that any unused excess energy can also be stored and used when necessary.

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Michael White Jun 28, 2016

I would highly recommend Solar over geothermal, wind or any other means of producing power. The ROI is much quicker than other mentioned ways of producing clean energy. My second choice would be biofuel from coconut husk, readily available here. Energy Regulations will be your biggest obstacle, on top of clients mis trust. We have All components

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Camay Villeroz Jul 19, 2016

The idea is interesting but solar and hydro have lesser output unlike coal and geothermal, say 130 MW vs 400 MW and they use these as ancillary services to secure stability in the grid. Also, renewables are under must dispatch order in the spot market. Price hikes up because of unplanned outages of pps that's why they will choose generators with prices higher than before. I hope you can store such amt. of energy. Reading the EPIRA might help you with your prototype.

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King Karl Seroje Aug 4, 2016

Hi deeshachandra,

Im not part of the team but would like to answer your question. During off-peak hours when the demand of electricity is low, the power is provided by the always-on power plants. Sad to say, most of them burn fossil fuels (mostly coal) to generate electricity. During the peak hours when the electricity demand increases, the utility uses back-up generators to meet the increased demand. These generators are usually diesel-powered. Running on diesel is way more expensive than burning coal, so the utility's operation is more expensive and they charge the end-user with higher rate. The Peak-Off-Peak (POP) program of Meralco allows the industries to save on electric bills by operating during off-peak hours. Meralco would charge them at lower rate during off-peak hours and higher during peak hours. :)

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Matt Jaeggi Jul 19, 2016

Good to see you guys again :)

Do you know the needed funding for scaling the prototype?

And why do you need permission for the spot market? If used in-house (so not feeding into the grid again), is that still required?

Best of luck!

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Paolo Samontanez Jul 23, 2016

We are currently working with UP Enterprise to secure the paperwork for WESM trading. They are trying to hook us up with a program that DOST runs so we dont need to setup the escrow fund worth 5 Million.

As for the hardware, Sir Jhaze is planning to introduce us to an industry leader in manufacturing so we can get significant traction once the installation is running in their premise. Currently, we would need around two million to develop the industrial grade version of OneWatt.

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Kyle Bo Jul 20, 2016

"OneWatt is a system that allows an establishment to store energy during off peak hours, when the electricity is very cheap, and deploy the energy when the grid electricity prices are at their peak."

As I understand it, you plan to store energy during off peak hours since that is the time when most of our grid energy just comes from cleaner sources. And then use that stored energy during peak hours to reduce the consumption at such time when our grid is supported by additional non-clean energy sources.

That implies the use of batteries. Have you already computed the carbon footprint of the batteries' manufacturing, maintenance, and disposal? Because the carbon footprint of that system *might* be even greater than the carbon footprint of the fossil fuel generators only running during peak load. What I'm trying to ask is are you sure that the use of batteries at such a large scale will reduce the overall carbon footprint of our grid + your system?

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Em Bueta Jul 27, 2016

Hi Kyle,

Good question.
This was also one of our initial concerns when we were coming up with the project. The batteries we are looking at are 99% recyclable, essentially a closed loop, with only the incidentals like paper and the likes needing to be disposed.

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Fridz Tumbaga Jul 23, 2016

Interesting idea. Good luck.

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