Dutch startup battles energy grid congestion with digital twins

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Europe is electrifying — literally. From EVs to heat pumps, more and more of our critical technologies need to get plugged in. This is a positive step toward net zero, but it is also putting a massive strain on the electricity grid. 

Grid congestion is like rush hour traffic on a busy highway — excessive demand for electricity creates bottlenecks and slows the flow of energy.This can cause power outages, voltage fluctuations, and equipment damage.

It’s such a big problem that some companies wanting to install large heat pumps or fast-charging infrastructure for EVs have been forced to wait for months, to prevent overburdening the grid. Naturally, this urgency has also spurred solutions. 

One of them is Tibo Energy, a Dutch spinoff from the Eindhoven University of Technology that is using digital twins to help companies optimise energy consumption, generation, and storage. It creates a digital replica of all the energy assets, based on real-time information gathered through sensors.   

Many businesses are generating more of their own electricity on-site through a mix of assets like solar panels, heat pumps, and batteries. However, as the amount of these assets grows they become increasingly difficult to manage. Tibo’s advanced software, powered by machine learning, turns these assets into one local smart energy grid, making the whole system more efficient. 

The startup says this allows commercial and industrial companies to go electric and install renewable assets while avoiding costly grid expansion. Tibo claims its digital twin software results in energy and cost savings of up to 15% and 30% respectively.

“The opportunity for Tibo is huge,” said Rene Savelsberg, co-founder and partner at Amsterdam-based SET Ventures. Along with Speedinvest, the VC firm has just invested €3mn into the fledgling company.    

Since 2019, 167GW of distributed solar panels has been added to Europe’s energy mix, with the majority coming from installations at customers like those Tibo is targeting. Essentially, the startup wants to avoid a scenario where businesses have to stall their energy transition because of inadequate grid infrastructure. 

“Their ability to turn energy assets into a local smart grid will enable these companies to electrify quicker and optimise for price and CO2 impact,” continued Savelsberg. “Their easily deployable cutting-edge technology is a real game-changer.”

Tibo will use this first seed funding round to expand its sales, marketing, and development teams to enhance the product and drive national and international growth.