Fresh Energy – fresh wind for the energy transition

Advance payments are a thing of the past - total transparency is here

‘Fresh Energy’, another venture run by the innogy Innovation Hub, has been working on a simple yet all-the-more scintillating idea. How about a monthly power bill that tells you which appliance in your household consumes the most power? Which then motivates you to save power every month? And can immediately identify the true power guzzlers?

‘Fresh Energy’ has taken these ideas on board – in the form of a new energy solution consisting of smart meter, smartphone app and 100% green power. Daniel von Gaertner, Venture Developer at the innogy Innovation Hub developed the idea and set up the project in May and then worked on it with the Hub team, RWE IT and strategic partners ‘discovergy’ and eprimo to bring it to market. Since mid-November, over 100 customers have signed up for the new energy solution.

Development team only needs twelve weeks

Together with the Pivotal Software team, RWE IT colleagues managed to take a complex product to market in just 12 weeks. The team works in the Pivotal Labs office in London according to the principles and methods of XP (Extreme Programming). The entire process works in “pairing” mode – where alternating pairs of designers, developers and product managers team up to work on various product features and improvements.

“Pairing ensures complete knowledge transfer and a high quality development outcome and – despite some initial scepticism – our productivity is enormously high. Thanks to a purely test-driven development method and rigorous automation of all deployment and release processes, we are able to post live updates several times a day. The ‘Fresh Energy’ application runs on the Amazon cloud of RWE IT and operates there within a cloud foundry environment – which means we have complete automation and autonomy in terms of the infrastructure involved.”

Tom May, RWE IT employee

100% transparency – the Fresh Energy claim

“When you talk to people these days about how much power they consume, most of them don’t know what they pay for which amount of power. Power consumption and power bills are a complete black box for many customers.”

Daniel von Gaertner

While in other sectors, like the mobile phone industry, bills come in on a monthly basis with a detailed breakdown of all the costs involved, electricity customers make do with advance payments based on estimated usage and an annual statement of account.

‘Fresh Energy’ wants to offer more and take the first step towards becoming a digital energy service provider:

“Our customer interface is completely digital and app-based. We want to make power consumption transparent and explain to customers how much power they are using, what they are using it for and how they could save power.”

Daniel von Gaertner

The next logical step is that such transparency will make it easier for customers to save power.

Bright future

In terms of the further development of ‘Fresh Energy’, Daniel von Gaertner wants customers to benefit from the intelligent electricity grid of the future. The ‘Fresh Energy’ smart meter will anticipate power prices over the next few days and hours based on consumption and weather patterns, adjusting household power consumption accordingly and thus saving customers a great deal of money.

According to von Gaertner, it would work like this:

“You tell your system: ‘Let the washing machine run today when the power price is cheapest. But the washing should be done by 7 pm’. The systems would then automatically optimise their own power consumption in line with the electricity production cost of that particular day.”

Daniel von Gaertner

In order to get there, ‘Fresh Energy’ will need to be put through some more “innovative paces”. Join the movement and journey with us – it will not only save you money but make a real contribution to private transformation of the energy industry!

More information on Fresh Energy is available here (in German language only).

fresh-energy-team-2560x1440 The Fresh Energy team with Daniel von Gaertner (5th from the right)