Japan Energy Fund invests in OhmConnect, an innovative residential demand response company
London, 9 June, 2022 - Japan Energy Fund is pleased to announce that it has invested in OhmConnect, through Japan Energy Fund’s (JEF) Decarbonized Tech Fund managed by Japan Energy Capital.
OhmConnect is a U.S. company that offers a demand response (DR) service for homes, where users receive rewards when they reduce their energy use to help balance the grid. OhmConnect raised 55M USD (7.2B JPY) in this Series D round to expand its energy flexibility solution into new markets and support the build-out of several gigawatts of flexible electric load across the United States.
* USD 1 = JPY 131
With energy prices increasing globally, there has never been more of an incentive for consumers to conserve energy. In Japan, electricity, gas, and water prices in February 2022 were up 27.5% compared to a year prior*1, with households strongly affected. Moreover, to reach net zero, we need a substantial decrease in energy consumption, particularly that derived from fossil fuels. The grid needs to be balanced at all times, and at peak consumption hours, this currently means an influx of often inefficient, fossil fuel-derived energy that can easily be turned on and off but is very costly.*2 Coupled with the Japanese government’s target of 36-38% renewable energy by 2030 and a target to reach 30% energy self sufficiency*3, this is the ideal time to focus on behavioural changes and demand response to reach these goals and further decarbonization.
OhmConnect was selected as one of the three winners of the Japan Energy Challenge 2020, a venture program sponsored by ENECHANGE which seeks to connect innovative companies in the energy sector with key stakeholders in the Japanese energy market. The program has been running since 2018 and rebranded in 2021 as ENECHANGE Insight Ventures. Since OhmConnect’s win, ENECHANGE and OhmConnect have explored ways to partner and further decarbonization, culminating in this investment.
*1. Mainichi Shimbun, ‘Japan Feb. wholesale prices surge 9.3%, sharpest rise on record’, March 10, 2022, https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220310/p2g/00m/0bu/031000c
*2 OhmConnect, ‘What are OhmHours and AutoOhms?’, https://www.ohmconnect.com/how-it-works/what-are-ohmhours-and-autoohms
*3 METI, ‘Outline of Strategic Energy Plan’, October 2021 (updated November 26, 2021), https://www.enecho.meti.go.jp/en/category/others/basic_plan/pdf/6th_outline.pdf
About OhmConnect’s OhmHour
OhmHours and AutoOhms are energy-saving events during which OhmConnect has committed to the grid that customers will save energy. Customers can receive cash or rewards for reducing their energy consumption during these times. OhmHours are based on when the grid predicts an energy surge in the next 24 hours, while AutoOhms are real-time. Users receive notifications via SMS or email on when to power down and can link their smart devices to OhmConnect’s platform to ensure they turn off at the right time. OhmConnect’s tools thus encourage users to save energy and earn for their efforts in an engaging way. The program is currently up and running in the states of California, New York, and Texas.
OhmConnect, winner of the 2021 Fast Company World Changing Ideas Award, helps hundreds of thousands of customers manage their at-home electricity and rewards them for smarter energy use. The company pays its customers for saving electricity when the grid is stressed and likely to utilize dirty power, unlocking clean, affordable, and reliable energy. With more than $17 million in rewards paid to its customers, OhmConnect is making a future of 100% clean energy accessible to everyone. Follow OhmConnect on Twitter @OhmConnect, read the OhmConnect blog or check them out on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Yohei Kiguchi, Founder and CEO of Japan Energy Fund and ENECHANGE Ltd.
We are very excited to announce our investment in OhmConnect. Since they were selected as one of the winners of the Japan Energy Challenge, we have closely followed their success in the U.S., particularly in California, and we are confident that their technology will be equally successful in the Japanese market. Against the backdrop of the energy price spike happening across the globe, we believe OhmConnect’s solution presents a real opportunity for households to offset their rising energy bills, while also helping us work towards further decarbonization in Japan.
Cisco DeVries, CEO of OhmConnect
This investment signifies the commitment to flexible demand and highlights the critical role people can play in grid resiliency. As OhmConnect expands to millions of homes around the globe, broadscale participation will be the ultimate game-changer for ageing electric infrastructure.