BP invests in AI to focus on digital energy

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BP’s venture capital branch BP Ventures has invested in artificial intelligence (AI) developer Grid Edge in an effort to expand the company’s digital energy portfolio.

The investment in the UK-based company aims to support BP’s work exploring the application of cognitive computing and machine learning in its global oil and gas business, complementing its £5m investment in Houston-based AI start-up Belmont Technology in January 2019.

Grid Edge has developed a cloud-based energy management platform which anticipates a building’s energy demand, allowing building managers to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs. The technology uses data including expected occupancy and weather forecasts to enable customers to adapt their energy usage, leveraging periods of high renewable power generation.

The investment, made by BP and family office investment house Goldacre, is expected to enable Grid Edge’s expansion in UK markets, utilising existing partnerships in the real estate sector and exploring further opportunities in Europe.

The investment is also in support of BP Alternative Energy’s wider low-carbon power, storage and digital energy strategies, with Grid Edge’s software typically enabling customers to lower carbon emissions by 10-15% and some customers reporting reductions of more than 30%. In March 2019, BP established a $100m fund for projects to deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in its upstream oil and gas portfolio.

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