Duncan O’Toole

Captured Carbon/Electricity Exchange


Self-financing Virtuous Energy Circle in the Eye of a Sustainability Storm.


The call to be sustainable is now moving from a voluntary CSR sector to a compliance requirement.  In Ireland this will lead to a crowded marketplace and may create obstacles to sustainability.  There is also an increased onus on ensuring that sustainable practices are contributing to actual sustainability. The optimal use of technology, purchase orders and inherent characteristics of your company can create a virtuous energy circle.


The Storm:

There is an increasing onus on industry to do its part in addressing climate change.  Actions to date have largely been voluntary however recently this has developed to mandatory requirements for industry e.g. carbon trading, energy efficiency reductions etc.  The recent introduction into Irish law of the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive now obliges large Irish companies to report on their sustainability practices.

The exponential growth of industry has moved the goal posts for Ireland in reaching its renewable electricity targets, this may create a “backlash” of sorts if industry is not seen to do its part also.  This is illustrated in the graphs below, which show that data centres (DCs) alone consume all of the energy provided by Irelands Renewable generation fleet.  This means that Ireland must invest more (funded by PSO levy & taxes) in renewable generation schemes, the question will emerge why is industry not funding windfarms rather than the households of Ireland?

Increased reporting of energy consumption means that large industrial consumption is “chasing” green energy.  As subsidised windfarms (75% of the renewable fleet) are not available for “greening” this means that there is a growing demand for green energy with a decreasing supply.  This has led to consumers buying “green” energy outside of Ireland; this may lead to criticism given the challenges on the PSO Levy to build our more renewable as a result of industrial consumption.

The Circle

Energy use is a constant challenge for cost control in most Large Energy User companies (LEUs).  The challenge is further exasperated if a company wishes to marry this with a commitment to the environment.  This talk sets out the challenges and proposes the direction of travel LEUs must go in to deliver sustainable renewable consumption in a manner that minimises costs.

There are three parts in the process:

1. Enable Green:allowing the grid to use  LEU consumption or onsite generation enables more variable renewable generation to access the grid without having to build more thermal generation to provide increased inertia.  This is achieved by participation in Demand Side Units; LEUs participating in this should realise the following benefits:

  • Revenue (payment for provision of service)
  • Diagnostics (provided as part of DSU)
  • Enabling Green (forms part of sustainable goals of company)
  • Positive results for Non Financial Reporting accounts.

2. Energy Efficiency: Revenue from above is directed into an energy roadmap to bring about energy efficiencies thus creating further benefits:

  • Reduces electricity consumption, creates savings and increases revenues
  • Reduces carbon footprint of LEU (forms part of sustainable goals)
    • Introduces newer equipment into company.
    • Positive results for Non Financial Reporting accounts.

3. Procuring Green:This is best achieved when efficiencies and increased revenues are realised from the above actions.  There is a challenge to procure energy in a manner that is “additional” i.e. results in additional windfarms being built in Ireland without a government subsidy.   This is a “Corporate PPA” and when structured properly will see the LEU present a purchase order for electricity at a fixed price to a trading party who will then put together an electricity supply agreement.  This party will   absorb the trading and delivery risk to allow the LEU interact as previously the case. The structure of this can be in a number of ways depending on the requirements of the LEU.

About Duncan O’Toole:

Duncan O’Toole is the Founder and Managing Director of CCL Energy a company that is a primary mover in the trading and  delivery of renewable electricity.  He is also Co-Founder and director of Electricity Exchange a virtual Power plant aggregator in Ireland.

About CCL and EEX:

Captured Carbon trades and optimises revenue for multiple renewable generators in the Irish electricity market. It provides green energy to most of Ireland’s Electricity Supply companies and advises participants on all aspects of the market. The Company has an extensive array of commercial dealings with leading utilities, in Ireland and internationally, and manages the commercial trading activities of numerous wind farms as well as other forms of low carbon power generation.

Electricity Exchange is Ireland’s second largest demand side aggregator, it is a technology leader in the area of demand side control and metrology.  This year the company announced a doubling of it workforce and a move to providing its technology outside of Ireland.

The companies employ over 30 staff in their Limerick and Dublin offices

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