January 2020 will always hold fond memories for us because that was when we started out as enspired. Apart from that, the beginning of the year was nothing to write home about: business as usual, you might say, until we heard about a spreading virus, which would eventually upend our lives. Covid-19 went on to wreak havoc for most of 2020 and 2021, causing a major recession the likes of which the world had not seen for decades.
The economic uncertainty had an enormous impact on the global energy industry, and when lockdowns were no longer the order of the day and the economy finally rebounded, energy demand outpaced supply and plunged the world into an energy crisis. Europe was hit especially hard, and late 2021 saw unprecedented volatility in energy markets. Then, on February 24, 2022, what many of us thought was unthinkable happened: with Russia invading Ukraine there was, once more, a war raging at the heart of Europe. In addition to the unbearable pain and suffering the war continues to cause in Ukraine, it has escalated the energy crisis into a new dimension. The continent is struggling to cope with high production costs, soaring food and energy prices, and two-digit inflation rates. This is where we are in January, but please read on - not all of 2022 was doom and gloom.
Oddly enough, these adverse circumstances revealed challenges we may not have been aware of before; challenges that, when met, can help propel the energy transition forward. And in order to ensure energy security, there need to be a lot of smart people with great ideas working together to make things happen. A community of problem solvers, if you like, and we feel privileged to belong to this select group. There certainly is a lot to do, but we’re keen to continue making a contribution to what we advocate. For now, however, it’s time to look back on the past year and make an inventory of what stood out for us.
Building a community
After an almost two-year hiatus, live events finally returned this year, and there were two important firsts for us. In June, we made our debut at E-world in Essen and had an absolute blast. With the hot topics being the commercial optimization of batteries, flexibility in intraday markets, and the growing demand for the marketing of virtual power plants - all of which are right up our alley - there was a great interest in our services and we had some fascinating conversations with the visitors who stopped by our booth. Then, only last month, we premiered our own event “get enspired 2022” in Vienna, set up to drive forward the industry’s commitment to the energy transition. With 120 attendees, among them dozens of thought leaders, it was an excellent opportunity to discuss innovative solutions for the short-term marketing of flexible assets with cutting-edge power trading. The event proved once again that players in our industry have the collective knowledge, skill sets, tools, as well as the willpower to tackle the challenges that are facing us on our way to transforming the global energy sector from its reliance on fossil fuels to using zero-carbon energy sources.Check out the highlight video here.
Listing all the events we attended in 2022 would turn this blog article into a novella, but there are a couple more that we would like to mention. Peter Baumgartl, our augmented trading expert, was one of the speakers at the Applied AI Conference, an online event in March, which put the spotlight on AI applications in the energy sector and boasted a lineup of international keynote speakers. In October, our CEO Jürgen Mayerhofer gave a talk at the Energy Storage Global Conference in Brussels, an event where key energy storage professionals gather to offer their insights and exchange ideas. We also launched a series of webinars, where we explored the topic of stabilizing energy markets with the help of AI, then took a deep dive into batteries and virtual power plants.
The whole of Argentina celebrated in December, and probably still is today. Their team won the football World Cup, and three of the squad also took home individual awards for the best player, best goalkeeper and best young player of the tournament. And while energy industry awards may not grab the headlines of mainstream media, we're still proud and honored that our augmented trading-as-a-service was nominated for ECONOVIUS State Award Innovation 2022. Elsewhere, we were crowned joint winners in Austria in the climate technology section of Tech Rocketship Awards 2022, which are sponsored by the UK’s Department of International Trade. In the category “Energy Distribution & Storage,” we made it to the SET100 List, which identifies the Top 100 energy start-ups of the year.
As suggested above, we don’t quite get the same media coverage as football, but we clearly struck a chord with many players in the industry, as we were featured in articles and reports from both the green energy and start-up communities. Jürgen was a guest in the popular podcast “The Insider’s Guide to Energy” and talked about where fully automated energy trading is headed. He also discussed the benefits of AI-powered energy trading in the December edition of Energy Tech Review.
So, all in all, it would be false modesty to say that 2022 was the same for us as the two previous years. It was our breakthrough, if you will, and our company made something of a name for itself. We are now getting increasing recognition, and more and more industry players are contacting us to find out about our services.
Growing inside and out
There is no denying the fact that the venture capital we attracted in 2021 helped us accelerate our growth this year, but anyone who runs a business knows that money alone doesn’t guarantee success. It may sound like a cliche, but without the tireless efforts of our committed staff we couldn’t have achieved all that we have. Through hard work and dedication we secured a membership at Nord Pool, the second power exchange, after EPEX, where we now offer additional trading options and liquidity.
This year we won several new customers. For instance, we help Priogen Energy, a Dutch company that trades renewable energy, to get the maximum value from their renewables position by taking care of their trading and constantly fine-tuning algorithms for optimal results while automatically monitoring trading behavior around the clock. Another new customer is Denmark’s transmission system operator Energinet - starting in the spring of 2023, we will procure energy in the intraday market for them. This partnership will contribute to a more efficient and stable power system and accelerate the energy transition by making power trading more effective.
Each one of these collaborations is a step on the way to achieving our vision: augmented energy trading in a carbon-free industry. We’re confident that in cooperation with our current and future partners, we will continue to get ever closer to that ideal. And with the new year beginning, we asked some of our traders about their wishes for the energy market in 2023. These are the wishes that featured most prominently:
- More flexible assets in the Austrian intraday market
- Liquid products in lower than hourly granularity for the markets outside Germany
- Changes in policymaking to acknowledge the importance of storage to the energy transition
- Progress in the development of technically and commercially viable nuclear fusion
- Better demand response, with demand adjusting to production
- Cheap, efficient, AI-powered storage technology that doesn’t wear out
- Harmonization of standard 15-minute products in different bidding zones
- Introduction of intraday auctions where they are not yet implemented
- Financing of storage projects, both directly and by lifting local barriers (e.g. taxes, grid fees)
It takes just one look at this list to realize how much work is still to be done on the grueling yet fascinating journey to a net-zero world. A big thank you to everyone who has been traveling with us.
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