OakTree Power, a climate tech startup that helps companies reduce their energy consumption, achieve net-zero emissions targets and generate new income streams.
The buildings and construction sector produced over a third of the world’s CO2 emissions in 2019 and, at the same time, renewable energy supply remains a vital but inconsistent source of electricity – sometimes the wind fails to blow when commercial properties need power.
OakTree Power helps companies make use of the UK’s Demand Side Response (DSR) scheme that offers financial rewards to facilities that adapt their energy use according to supply. Blue-chip companies can benefit from OakTree Power’s services with no up-front cost.
OakTree Power launched in August 2020 with three employees. Chantel took over as CEO in March 2022 and committed to creating an equal gender balance within the business, against the backdrop of a male-dominated industry. She has since grown the team to 11 people, in which the majority are women while scaling the business exponentially. Prior to joining, the company’s annual turnover was projected to be £10,000 for 2022 due to technology constraints with their new platform. However, with Chantel’s experience and industry connections, the company was able to move the needle and grow to £800,000, with £2.9million in revenue secured for 2023.
Chantel is also looking to empower more women in the energy sector by launching a female apprenticeship scheme at OakTree Power to help guide the future generation of data scientists and engineers into senior roles.
Chantel’s career path to OakTree Power
Chantel’s career started when she moved to the UK from South Africa after leaving school. Having grown up in a small town with limited opportunities outside of agriculture, she was keen to embrace city life and challenge herself to do something bigger. A two year working holiday visa for commonwealth countries gave her that opportunity.
She was quick to move into ‘clean tech’ organisations where she could make a difference, and her work ethic helped her progress through her employers’ organisations. She entered her first leadership position in 2014 at KiWi Power, a company that pioneered the use of ‘virtual power plants’ – allowing power networks to achieve better energy distribution. It was at KiWi power that she recognised the potential not only to improve the world but also support women, building a team that was equally men and women at a time when men dominated the energy industry.
Chantel progressed to Gentrack, as a Sales Director for the NASDAQ-listed clean tech PLC. At OakTree Power Scheepers leads the company’s aggressive growth plans, while working closely with the technology department to develop new innovative products that support the digital transformation and decarbonisation of the energy sector.
A proven track record of success
Chantel’s record of growing companies from domestic to global operations has underscored her capability as a leader. Her experience at KiWi Power pioneering Virtual Power plants was instrumental as the industry was valued at a mere £200m now pushing £9b. She has continued that trajectory by positioning OakTree Power at the cutting edge of the energy sector transformation and taking a leading role in the ongoing paradigm shift.
A prime example of this is in OakTree Power’s successful application for EIC Project funding for the most innovative high tech project, which Chantel was able to turn around in seven weeks, despite typically taking most companies over a year to complete.
Under Chantel’s leadership, OakTree Power has also won the sustainability category at the Propel Startup Competition (July 2022) alongside the Greater London Award for ‘Best Disruptive Real Estate Climate Technology’. She has also led the growth of their client base which now includes FTSE 250 law firm Pinsent Mason and The Financial Times, who are set to save 22% of their annual energy bill within five years, following the installation of OakTree Power’s product.
An advocate for the global adoption of clean technology solutions, Chantel has appeared in numerous publications, including Raconteur, City AM and Current News, challenging government regulation and calling for change, and regularly speaks at conferences including Elemento Expo, with more planned for 2023.