Squeaky Clean Energy is a peer-to-peer energy company that connects small businesses to generators of renewable energy via a digital platform. Rather than having a business model based on supplying energy or selling specific technologies, Squeaky Clean Energy acts as the facilitator of a new marketplace.
It offers some services - billing companies and collecting their money, but that's all. Their peer-to-peer model allows businesses to choose to buy electricity from a particular wind or solar farm in a particular location by making direct contact with suppliers. If a particular wind farm isn’t generating enough energy at the time that it’s needed, the platform automatically sources it from another generator. The startup currently works with five wind farms and one solar farm. If it needs more supply, it also has a partnership with Europe’s largest renewable generator, which uses sources such as hydropower.
Like other off-site renewable electricity, since renewable electrons can’t be tracked on the grid, customers pay for the amount of energy they use rather than operating directly on wind power. Squeaky plans to address this by use blockchain technology to track the energy supplied on the platform.
Squeaky aims to offer clean energy at a low price, and at scale. The typical margin between a generator and customer might be 20% to 50% depending on the size of the transaction, and much of this margin is lost on intermediaries, credit costs, trading costs, and high-legacy industry costs, including inefficient systems and processes. Squeaky's model is able to cut this margin in half so that both sides benefit.
How could the idea of a peer-to-peer energy market place develop in the future? Imagine if consumers could buy energy from local businesses, for example. A lot of electricity is lost during the process of transmitting it across the network. More locally-sourced electricity and community power that doesn't have to be shipped round the UK is way more efficient. What role can new forms of energy trading play in driving a more localised energy system?