UK clean tech company Reactive Technologies has completed a £20.5 million (US$15 million) funding round, its largest ever.
It received backing from Bill Gates’ clean energy fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), UK investor BGF and American smart solutions manufacturer Eaton as part of the round.
The funds will enable Reactive to expand its offering internationally, exporting its GridMetrix technology. This works like sonar for the grid, directly measuring grid inertia and providing system operators with real-time visibility over power network conditions.
With increasing amounts of renewable energy on the grid in the UK and around the world, ensuring grid stability is increasingly challenging. Technologies like Reactive Technologies’ GridMetrix aim to tackle that, allowing renewable capacity to grow without balancing concerns.
“We need to accelerate the uptake of low carbon technologies to meet surging global energy demand while decreasing emissions as quickly as possible,” said Breakthrough Energy Ventures business lead Carmichael Roberts.
“We see the potential for Reactive to become a significant global player in the decarbonisation of power grids worldwide by enabling greater deployment of renewable resources. BEV identified the business as having a distinctive enabling technology that can be scaled to become an integral part of the response to this global challenge.”
The company stated that the investment from BEV was a major validation of its technological solution, as it only invests in technologies that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 1% of global emissions per year, or 0.5 gigatons.
As part of Eaton’s investment, it will partner with Reactive to explore opportunities for collaboration on both utility market support and future services offers.
“Our new financial and strategic partners will help drive a step change in the delivery of our services to system operators globally, accelerating our ability to enable power grids around the world to rapidly decarbonise and meet their net zero objectives,” said Marc Borrett, Reactive Technologies CEO.
The new funding round builds on an investment from global professional services firm Accenture in December 2020. Reactive also expects to announce further strategic investments as part of a second close later in 2021.
It is set to deploy its first commercial GridMetrix service contract with National Grid ESO, having signed an agreement with the operator in August 2019 for inertia measurement and analytics services. This forms part of National Grid ESO’s strategy for maintaining grid stability, which also includes the signing of contracts with five companies to provide inertia without the need to simultaneously provide electricity in January 2020, in what it believes is a world first.
Annual investment in grid infrastructure is set to treble from £188 to £593 billion ($260 to $820 billion) annually by the end of the decade according to the International Energy Agency, driven by increasingly decarbonised and decentralised systems. As more intermittent generation sources come online, and demand increases due to electric vehicles and heat pumps, the need to balance supply and demand will becoming increasingly pressing.
Additionally, over 70% of the world’s emissions come from jurisdictions that have committed to a 2050 net zero target. As such, Reactive Technologies says it is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in the decarbonisation of the global energy system.