For Belgian greenhouse growers, energy contracts are often contracts with fixed prices. One supplier is cheaper than the other, but in principle it does not vary much. "Because we look at the prices of the energy market and can control the consumption of a company flexibly, we can supply energy cheaper than others," says Pascal Braecke. Together with Joost Busschaert, a specialist in the energy market, he recently founded Virtual-Power.
Pascal himself is also working with Braecke Trading. This company manages cold storage for frozen foods companies. "That requires an enormous amount of electricity. I've been looking for years if there was a way to do it better and cheaper. When I met Joost and we talked about it, we really started to make headway."
Pascal indicates that they are visiting organizations and seeing how they can be more flexible with energy. "With us, the more flexibility, the better the price. We make customized contracts and offer a fixed discount for a longer time period. In addition, we monitor and control the energy flows in the company through intelligent control. This way we can get the most from a consumption profile. If companies give us their trust and we are allowed to decide to what extent we're going to control it, it can bring huge benefits."
Pascal explains that they supply green energy. "The current energy landscape is changing significantly. On the supply side, the share of renewable energy sources such as wind, sun, biomass, etc. is ever increasing. On the demand side, we find more and more energy-efficient applications that work on battery or an independent grid. We notice that, where the market used to be driven by the demand side, this balance is increasingly shifting towards the supply side. We must be able to control our costs when it is beneficial for the eco system with a lot of wind and sunshine. When we have insight in the consumption of companies, we can increase or decrease the energy at the right moments. At times when energy is cheap, we will turn it on and off at expensive times. Of course, the temperature at refrigeration warehouses have to be guaranteed, but we also take care of that."
"Currently, we mainly serve cold stores. Also for companies dealing with fresh produce, Virtual-Power is beneficial, as they often use refrigeration. We also offer companies with their own solar panels, wind turbines or CHP unit a worthwhile alternative solution for their energy park." Now Virtual-Power mainly operates in Belgium, but in the future they are also targeting other European countries.
"Meanwhile, we're working on a new application that works on batteries. For this we are participating in a crowd-funding contest and possibly we may be chosen as an innovative concept that can be sponsored."
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