The following article is sponsored by CleanSpark Inc. The information contained in this article in no way represents investment advice or opinion on the part of Benzinga or its writers and is intended for informational purposes only.
Earlier this year, California began experiencing rolling blackouts due in part to unstable energy supply and demand dynamics, as well as inadequate transmission.
Benzinga chatted with Matthew Schultz, Chairman at CleanSpark Inc (NASDAQ:CLSK), a disruptive innovator working to create sustainable energy infrastructures.
The larger, “macro-grid” has become antiquated, experiencing problems from generation, transmission, natural disasters and growth. Microgrids, which are collections of energy generation, storage and distribution assets, have become more prevalent of late. The challenges include the difficulties of integrating multiple brands of assets within a single ecosystem.
Founded in 2014, CleanSpark is a microgrid software and services company that improves energy infrastructures using proprietary, data-driven technologies.
In the simplest way possible: CleanSpark enables energy users to obtain resiliency and economic optimization.
“Our core focus is data analytics, software, and intelligent controls,” said Schultz. “According to a recent IBM white paper, they stated that ‘We’re on the leading edge of the cutting edge.’ Our approach puts the decisions and the control of the purchase and consumption of energy back into hands of the consumer.”
Core Product Portfolio
“We take the uncertainty and volatility of energy costs off the table,” Schultz said, “and allow businesses to build economic models of the future, allowing them to forecast exactly what the energy is going to cost them, and what they can count on as far as power quality and production.”
CleanSpark comes as a holistic solution for energy resiliency, cost avoidance and emissions reduction. The company’s core product portfolio consists of two core products:
- Microgrid Value Stream Optimizer (mVSO): A Software as a Service (SaaS) energy platform used by developers to properly model microgrids for end-use customers.
- Distributed Energy Controls (mPulse): Technology agnostic energy management and supervisory control software that uses A.I.-honed principles to forecast and modify microgrid behavior.
In providing an example, Schultz pointed to a 2014 completed project in which CleanSpark delivered analytics, coupled with their mPulse software and controls to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, helping mitigate the impacts of future rolling blackouts on mission-critical infrastructure.
“There were 55 different brands of energy asset at that location on Camp Pendleton,” said Schultz. “All of those energy assets were working independently and as a result were not set up to provide the resiliency needed to keep the associated critical loads online when San Diego Gas and Electric was experiencing brownouts and blackouts.”
CleanSpark prevailed on the California Energy Commission Grant, creating a single “software defined” ecosystem in which all the different energy assets worked together to provide resilient power for mission-critical components connected to the microgrid.
CleanSpark recently commissioned software on a new solar plus storage microgrid project in Central America for Micro Technologies SA, an assembly and manufacturing company.
As part of the development, CleanSpark’s mPulse system will help the manufacturer cut costs and store solar power in Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) batteries.
“It allows them to generate power through solar and then store that power in the Tesla battery system controlled by our software,” Schultz noted.
“They can buy cheap power from the grid during off-peak times of the day and then use that stored solar energy later on in the day when utility rates have gone up, thereby avoiding those increased utility costs and saving that industrial equipment facility overall on their power bill for years to come.”
CleanSpark is filling a gap, operating in an environment that is both vendor and hardware agnostic.
According to Schultz, through a software approach, CleanSpark maximizes the value of existing energy asset investments while adding flexibility for future energy deployments: “We allow that flexibility and choice for the end-user and developer as we support them in disrupting the traditional energy space.”
Going forward, the company will further mend the supply-demand mismatch across existing energy infrastructures through partnerships and acquisitions, as well as innovation.
“We recently made an acquisition of GridFabric,” the Chairman said. “They provide a buy-not-build communications protocol to allow the private industries that have grid connected energy assets to communicate with regulated public utilities.”
The acquisition will scale access to Demand Response, a protocol that works in conjunction with existing infrastructures to manage over-supply or -demand situations on the grid.
“Rather than having transformers explode and power lines fail, through Demand Response, the utility can send a signal to energy asset owners that they’re going to be deploying energy to those assets to be used, consumed, or stored, and for that service of acting as a shock absorber on the grid, the utility pays those asset owners a fee.”
Schultz continued, “The opposite side of the transaction is when there is a huge demand on the grid. In that case, the utility can send a signal to those facilities and say, we’re going to draw energy from you in order to supply to other customers, and they pay premiums for that Demand Response.”
To learn more about CleanSpark’s distributed energy solutions, click here.
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