- Tell us more about OakTree Power and the clients and markets served?
Oaktree Power is an ecotech startup enabling commercial buildings to help balance the electricity network during times of grid stress and be paid for their contribution. Our goal is to provide as many businesses as possible with this greener, more affordable system and lead the way towards a fully sustainable electricity system of the future. Thanks to our commercial partnerships with grid operators, our solution is already being rolled out across the UK and Europe.
We are committed to empower even more environmentally engaged blue chip companies to reduce their carbon emissions whilst earning significant, recurring revenues. Not only do we allow buildings to identify their adjustable electricity load, but enable the intelligent modulation of their usage for short periods of time, ultimately helping to keep Britain’s lights on within critical infrastructure such as the NHS, Education, supermarkets and many more.
- How has the business grown since it started and how have you ensured growth?
Firstly, OakTree Power’s team nearly tripled in the last 18 months, which has allowed us to build a very strong foundation. Considering that the company was built from scratch in a crowded market with an unknown product, it’s been very exciting to have such a fantastic start and seeing our technology being adopted by multiple FTSE250 companies in the UK.
In our next phase, we are planning to scale at speed by growing our team internationally as we continue to expand our services beyond the UK. We are convinced that this is the right moment to roll out OakTree Power’s solution with greater ambition, as we now have the right talent working with us and are actively recruiting exceptional people that want to make a difference.
Moreover, our investors and clients simply love our product, which only tells us that the next 12 months will be very exciting.
- What are some of the key challenges your customers are experiencing and how does your technology help them to address these challenges?
We appreciate that every penny counts when it comes to today’s energy bills, and that any amount of energy that can be saved in buildings can be crucial to reach net zero emissions, and that is why we’re putting forward demand side response (DSR), a technology that sits at the centre of everything.
With DSR, businesses owning commercial properties can identify the electricity that is not essential to their performance and intelligently modulate it. Moreover, they get financially rewarded for contributing. Everyone wins!
The beauty of the balancing response programmes is that there aren’t upfront costs to participate. For no capital investment, OakTree Power works through companies’ existing energy suppliers, utilising their current infrastructure to generate a predictable annual recurring revenue stream. The only thing businesses need is to have or seek to have the ability to curtail consumption of electricity to provide a demand-side resource to the local or national grids.
- Can you share any examples of completed/ongoing projects and the benefits realised?
We are working with a number of clients in London to reduce their overall energy consumption and ensure they are in line with the UK’s net zero target. To give you an idea of the savings we are helping these businesses achieve – an average commercial building in London is projected to save 112,500 kg of CO2 and £112,500 in energy savings, coupled with a projected earning of £32,000. In addition, the solution is set to reduce otherwise inaccessible carbon emissions by over 50,000kg every year across the 200,000 square feet building.
- How does your DSR technology help businesses to generate new revenue streams while also reducing energy consumption?
We install non-invasive IoT controllers at commercial buildings – old or new. These smart devices then start learning the building’s electricity use, and vitally, true requirements, so that our proprietary artificial intelligence technology can automatically modulate usage for short periods of time.
Again, this whole process requires no capital investment from building owners! OakTree Power takes care of everything and helps businesses avoid overpaying for electricity they don’t really need, and creating a new revenue stream while helping make up the energy shortfall at times of grid stress when supply and demand are not evenly matched.
- How can SMEs with less available budget than enterprise counterparts take steps towards a more green and sustainable future?
With 20 million SMEs in Europe and around 40,000 large companies, it’s safe to say that a collective impact is much more significant.
SME enterprises might have less available budget to make sustainable statements, but if they establish the appropriate collaborative networks to tackle specific issues, they’ll certainly be taking steps towards a more green and sustainable future.
The important thing is to not sit around and wait for an innovation that extrapolates the OakTree Power model to the SME scale. There are countless initiatives that allow smaller companies to be more responsible – it’s just a matter of having a real determination to start somewhere and with something, whether that’s recycling waste products or becoming an advocate for sustainable alternatives.
- How important is technology to your own business for ensuring ability to scale and how do you plan to grow the business further?
It’s hugely important not only for OakTree Power, but for the entire energy consumer world. After all, technology has the potential to radically alter energy providers competitiveness, reduce environmental damages from energy use, and reduce the cost of energy services.
With global energy going through a digital transformation journey, more data will become available, and this is crucial for OakTree Power, as technology will expand our ability to scale beyond sophisticated grids in the EU. Similarly, it will enable us to play a vital part in providing platforms and solutions for growing nations to adopt clean, sustainable, much more cost-effective energy systems.
Globally, the number of people without access to electricity declined from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 759 million in 2019 according to the world bank. It’s crucial to keep bringing these figures down, as electrification means access to the internet and free education. We’ve certainly come a long way, but there’s still much more to do ethically, responsibly and sustainably, as we have a duty of care to empower our younger generations with sustainable power.
- What trends do you expect to see in this space looking ahead and how should organisations ensure they can meet long-term sustainability goals?
The current geopolitical situation across Europe and globally shows us now more than ever that we need to build a sustainable energy system that’s affordable and ensures the security of supply. In light of this, I expect to see more decentralised smart grids and networks.
But this won’t magically happen overnight. Over the next 10 years, more leaders from across all countries, sectors and societies will need to become planet ambassadors to demand the wider adoption of cleantech technologies. That means phasing out unabated coal by 2040 and adopting more renewable energy.
As for the ongoing energy crisis, and with UK businesses not being protected by the price cap like households, I expect to see the majority of enterprises owning commercial properties begin exploring solutions that not only reduce their energy wastage, but overall energy consumption. This will be essential to their survival in 2022 and beyond. In addition, the adoption of technologies like DSR will allow these businesses to put in place a long-term sustainability strategy with tangible KPIs for no capital investment whatsoever.
These are decisive times for the future of UK enterprises and our net zero plans. Reports suggest UK businesses will waste enough energy in 2022 to power Greater London for more than seven years, and with DSR technology already providing groundbreaking results for several properties across the UK, now is the time for owners of commercial buildings to decisively explore alternative, intelligent cleantech solutions and do so with the right partner like OakTree Power.