A Scottish energy demand specialist that allows businesses to sell power produced by their back-up generators to the National Grid has been acquired by international renewables investors in a multi-million deal.

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners has bought Flexitricity from Swiss multinational Alpiq for 18 million Swiss Francs (£15m).

The deal signals strong confidence in Flexitricity’s demand response technology, which can be used to help match demand for energy with supply.

The company’s customers include a wide range of businesses and public sector organisations that have energy generating systems. These may produce more power than their owners require.

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Flexitricity uses smart grid technology to arrange for energy from the generating assets to be sold to the National Grid to help balance supply and demand. It can aggregate the supplies of small producers.

The company’s technology can also be used to reward consumers for cutting their use of electricity at certain times.

The growing use of renewable energy plants such as windfarms by major power generators amid the drive to cut carbon emissions has increased the need for flexible generating capacity.

Flexitricity founder Alastair Martin said the company’s capabilities and technology were at the centre of a clean, secure, affordable and equitable energy system.

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Quinbrook managing partner Rory Quinlan said the Flexitricity team had shown innovative capability and would be a force in shaping the market landscape with the firm’s backing.

“We see great scope to expand their business model into a full menu of both asset-based and technology enabled solutions for leading UK energy consumers,” said Mr Quinlan.

Mr Martin founded Flexitricity in 2004 after gaining a PhD in oceanography from the University in Edinburgh then working for Scottish Water and Mitsui Babcock Energy.

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Flexitricity won backing from the Archangels investment syndicate and went on to be acquired by Alpiq in 2014.

It has grown into a substantial business, with around 70 employees.

Alpiq said it had decided to withdraw from the UK demand response management market .