OVO Energy-backed Kaluza taps up Google Cloud for carbon-negative push

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OVO Energy-backed technology platform Kaluza has revealed details of how it is using Google Cloud to underpin its push to become a carbon-negative entity by 2030.

Kaluza’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform was born out of OVO Energy in 2019 and is supplied under licence to other energy retailers so they can provide customers with real-time billing information and smart grid services.

The firm claims its technology platform can help customers save money on their energy bills, while also providing them with the insights they need to curb emissions generated by their household’s electricity usage, heating habits and use of transportation.

It also has another product in its portfolio, known as Kaluza Flex, which uses algorithms to decide when best to charge millions of smart devices so that they are using energy when it is at its cheapest and greenest.

As detailed in a blog post authored by Tom Mallett, sustainability manager at Kaluza, the company is not only committed to helping its customers achieve their green goals, but has also set itself a target of becoming carbon-negative by 2030.

“By 2030, we want to avoid the production of 10 million tons of CO2 by reaching 100 million energy users and reducing our energy retail clients’ cost to serve by 50% – and that’s only the half of it,” wrote Mallett.

“As we’re accelerating the energy transition for our customers, we also want to drastically reduce our own emissions. While the world is rushing towards net zero, we’re going one step further – committing to be carbon-negative by 2030.”

To help the company achieve its goal, it has developed an in-house carbon footprint-tracking tool that enables it to keep tabs on the environmental impact of its cloud usage.

“Our teams can use our carbon emissions tool to really dig down into the granularity of the data,” said Mallett. “This enables them to understand what drives their carbon footprint and how to address it. And this is where things get interesting, because better data translates into actual sustainability projects.”

Among these is the firm’s Green Software Development initiative, which has culminated in the creation of a handbook that provides best practice advice and guidance to Kaluza’s in-house software developers and engineers on how to write greener code and apps.  

It is also helping the company to minimise the environmental impact of its cloud infrastructure, which is made up of products from a number of different providers, including Google.

“Our technology stack spans a multicloud estate, and it is especially easy to get emissions data from Google Cloud Applications,” said Mallett.

This is because Google has a carbon footprint-tracking tool of its own that allows users of its cloud technologies to measure, report and reduce their emissions, and visualise them using various dashboards and charts.

“For every single process we run through Google Cloud, we get half-hourly electricity usage information, enabling us to point to the exact carbon emission of every process we run on Google Cloud,” said Mallett.  

“These insights have helped us shape Kaluza’s own carbon footprint tool, which we use to pull together information from all of our cloud providers in our multicloud setup, and create much more effective dashboards, which has been invaluable for our data teams.”

On this point, Mallett said the firm is using Google’s emissions data to learn more about the environmental impact of its workloads. “By combining this information with carbon-intensity data from the grid, we can identify and reschedule workloads to lower intensity times, and have a positive impact on Kaluza’s emissions,” he said.

“Fortunately, Google Cloud publishes carbon data for all cloud regions. This includes the average percentage of carbon-free energy consumed in that particular location on an hourly basis and the grid carbon intensity of the local electricity grid. By digging into the data, we can identify cloud waste and take action.”



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