Glen Dimplex in €100m German electricity play
GLEN Dimplex has teamed up with Germany’s biggest energy companies to launch a new business that hopes to change the way the world consumes electricity.
Glen Dimplex chief executive Sean O’Driscoll said the technology they have developed will disrupt the energy business in the same way mobile phones disrupted the telecoms industry.
Ireland’s largest industrial manufacturer has poured around €30m into the venture, according to industry sources, though Glen Dimplex would not confirm this, in exchange for a 25pc stake.
The three other companies backing the venture read like a who’s who of the German energy industry – MVV Energie, BayWa and Greencom Networks. Together they are thought to have invested in the region of €100m.
The joint venture is called BEEGY, based in Manheim, Germany. It was formally established on Friday. It has been set up to roll out a new energy storage technology developed by Glen Dimplex at its HQ in Dunleer, Co Louth.
Known as quantum thermal heaters, these allow households to store energy generated by solar panels on their roofs.
Households can then operate independently from commercial electricity sources – and even sell energy back to the grid.
BEEGY will also equip homes with the ability to control their energy usage remotely via the internet, and receive real-time pricing for any electricity they buy.
It has the potential to generate revenue in the hundreds of millions, Mr O’Driscoll said.
Glen Dimplex would “love” to introduce the same product in Ireland but government policy on the subject is too far behind, Mr O’Driscoll said.
Germany is the most progressive country on earth when it comes to renewable energy, he added. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in Japan in 2012, it pledged to shut down all of its nuclear reactors by 2022 – despite the fact that 30pc of the country’s energy at that time came from nuclear sources.
The German state is now investing about €20bn a year in wind and solar energy projects, with solar panels already fitted to the roofs of many homes. Harnessing and profiting from this energy, however, has proved more difficult.
“There is a new type of homeowner emerging who can both produce and consume their own energy – we call them ‘prosumers’ – who can operate independently of traditional electricity sources.
“They will use these traditional sources only occasionally, in the same way mobile phone users occasionally use landlines,” Mr O’Driscoll said, adding: “What we are doing has never been done before.”
Glen Dimplex is betting heavily on the growing importance of renewable energy. It has spent €75m in the last couple of years on research and development in the area.
It is not the only company with ties to Ireland to try and ride the wave of changing energy consumption. Last year Google spent €3bn to snap up Nest, which has built a device that allows users to control their heating remotely. Dundalk-based Climote has developed a similar product and recently signed a major deal with Scottish Power.
Source: Irish Independent