BP takes over a New York start-up that transforms buildings into “virtual power stations”

BP has strengthened its growing presence in the electricity sector with the acquisition of Blueprint Power, an American distributed technology start-up that aims to transform commercial buildings into “virtual power plants” capable of exchanging energy green and now plans a major expansion under the wing of the supermajor.

Blueprint said that with the help of BP, it hopes by the end of 2022 to nearly triple to 36 megawatts the aggregate generating capacity of buildings that use its cloud-based software and services based on advanced algorithms to manage and flexibly sell the excess energy they produce on site. renewables such as photovoltaic modules.

Robyn Beavers, founder and CEO of Blueprint, told Upstream’s sister publication Recharge that growth would be driven by expansion beyond New York City, where the company is already working with some of the largest owners of commercial buildings in the city to help decarbonize their building fleets, balance the grid and open up new sources of income through the sale of electricity.

Boston is next on Blueprint’s radar, with other U.S. cities and a later global expansion slated for the startup, which was founded in 2017 in response to regulatory changes introduced after Hurricane Sandy hit New York five years earlier, wreaking havoc on power supplies. and spur efforts to improve energy resilience.

“This is a country independent problem, the solution we have developed can be useful in cities around the world,” Beavers said.

Texas-sized opportunities

Texas cities are among those where Blueprint sees early opportunity, Beavers said, with that state’s own energy system firmly in the spotlight following catastrophic blackouts earlier this year.

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Beavers said: “It is clear that there are a lot of things that could be improved to prevent this from happening. One is better energy management behind the meter in buildings, there is very little in Texas at the moment. This would have been one of the main risk reduction factors [to prevent future problems]. “

The financial terms of the acquisition of Blueprint, which was previously backed by venture capital, were not disclosed and will now join the British energy giant’s BP Launchpad portfolio of startup incubators.

Beavers – whose own energy career began at Google in the tech giant’s early days, and also included spells at Vestas and NRG – said BP would open new doors to Blueprint with its global reach and expertise in areas such as energy trading. .

The oil and gas giant is already on its way to becoming a major player in New York’s renewable energy sector through its stake in giant offshore wind farms that later in the decade will begin supplying the state with green energy.

Blueprint is active in electric vehicle charging through a pilot program with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which will see the deployment of 150 EV chargers in a building in Queens that uses the company’s technology.

Beavers said the project is particularly important for “connecting the world of building electrification and mobility” and aims to show how advanced management technology can dramatically reduce the cost of deploying electric vehicle charging.

Sam Skerry, senior vice president of BP Launchpad & Ventures, said: “Decarbonizing dense urban areas is a major challenge as we work to play our part in achieving a net zero world. Blueprint’s technology can help achieve this critical transformation. This can help secure access to renewable energy and, most importantly, create new business opportunities for many sectors.

“This is exactly the type of business BP wants to grow and scale quickly with our BP Launchpad accelerator. “

BP is part of a group of European groups leading the push towards renewable energies by global oil and gas players. In addition to its New York offshore wind projects with Equinor, BP has a long-standing US onshore wind portfolio and is making large-scale solar investments there.

BP’s primary goals are to develop 20 net gigawatts of renewable assets globally by 2025 and 50 GW by 2030, as part of a goal of becoming a net zero enterprise by 2050.

(This article first appeared in Upstream’s sister publication on renewable energy, Recharge, on October 6, 2021)

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