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Decentralised electricity tech startup Voltus to launch IPO

By Andrew Knoll

00:04, 3 December 2021

Employees work on electricity couplings
Voltus, aiming for cost efficiency, reliability and sustainability, is preparing to launch an IPO

Voltus, a San Francisco-based energy management company, is poised to launch an IPO via a SPAC merger with Broadscale Acquisition Corp.

Voltus counts Coca Cola, Home Depot and Walmart among its partners, and operates in 10 countries on five continents with designs on further global expansion. Land purchases, partnerships, acquisitions and greater sprawl will each consume a portion of the IPO’s proceeds.

Shares of Broadscale vaulted as much as 23% on the news Wednesday before dipping marginally on Thursday. The combination will be seeking a valuation of around $1.3bn (£977m).

The investor presentation assessed the energy market as heading toward their niche of distributed energy resources, with Voltus being a pioneer in the sector. Broadscale CEO Andrew Shapiro touted Voltus’s potential to become a “world-changing company,” as well as its being relatively low-maintenance compared with some other tech companies.

“Voltus is the first DER technology platform that enables a decentralised, decarbonised, digitised, resilient and more affordable electricity system,” the detailed prospectus stated.

The future of energy

Concurrent with its plans for a public launch, Voltus has raised $100m in the form of a PIPE from Equinor Ventures, the investment wing of Nordic energy titan Equinor ASA.

Equinor engineer Carri Lockhart said in a recent interview that in the energy sector, “The climate focus is not a license to operate anymore, it has become a license to exist.”

She added that sustainability, safety and security were priorities across a diversifying energy market that still left more than one billion people with insufficient energy to match their basic needs.

The three D’s

Decarbonisation is at the center of transformation efforts, leading to more renewable power and greater long-term sustainability amid the torrent of climate pledges emerging from both the public and private spheres.

Digitisation, meanwhile, is in step with broader trends across nearly every industry to enable real-time monitoring and more precise control of resources.

Decentralisation is a key component of DER providers, as it allows companies direct access to energy in targeted ways that can perform tasks both large and small, for example EV charging or facilitating the energy needs of a manufacturing facility.

Improved efficiency, in terms of cost and resources

Voltus partners with energy grid operators in the US and Canada to give leverage to their clients, and those clients can return excess energy back to the larger grids, further increasing all-around efficiency. 

While the sphere of DERs is vast, including solar panels and wind turbines, alternative and traditional energy sources are still in need of reconciliation and integration.

“Our partnership with Broadscale will accelerate our mission at a time when the world needs solutions to modernise global electricity grids and solve the increasingly complex and frequent challenges associated with climate change,” Voltus CEO Gregg Dixon said. “Our platform orchestrates and monetises DERs, creating the balancing resource needed to support an increasing reliance on renewable energy sources, a critical prerequisite to effecting the full clean-energy transition.”


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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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