31st May 2020
Octopus Energy’s Future Energy Research Centre: Driving a Faster, Cheaper Green Transition Globally
Greg Jackson, Founder
Octopus Energy recently announced a multi-hundred million pound investment to enable us to accelerate and enlarge our mission to help make the green energy transition faster and cheaper globally.
One exciting component of our plans is the Future Energy Research Centre, which we expect to formally launch in Autumn 2020, and we are recruiting for now (indeed, we've received almost 100 applications from talented people even before we've begun formal recruitment).
Like other companies, Octopus Energy supplies green electrons to power homes and businesses - and that’s great as it funnels money to green generators (including Octopus Group) - but it barely moves the needle on desperately needed system-change. And to fight climate change we need to change the system fast and on a massive scale.
The Future Energy Research Centre will develop “clean sheet of paper” models for a clean energy system, and then work out how to make that real, starting from where we are today.
Octopus Energy has a wealth of data on renewable generation and investment from our parent company, Octopus Group, which is the UK’s leading investor in solar generation and is rapidly expanding into wind, as well as investing in other countries. And we have enormous amounts of unique data on how energy users respond to different ways of consuming energy through our groundbreaking work on variable, dynamic and time of use tariffs, and systems for engaging all customers in the opportunity to change their usage at times when the grid has excess or insufficient green energy. Most recently we offered to pay 100,000 customers with smart meters for using power in an experiment that pave the way for a clean, green, smart energy grid, and proves the energy technology could save taxpayers £40bn.
Octopus has pioneered new ways of enabling customers to do this consciously or automatically, with our growing ecosystem of integrations - from smart watch apps to smart car chargers, from optimisation services to platforms like IfThisThenThat (read about these integrations and more on our tech blog).
Our technology platform, Kraken, delivers all of this in realtime, connecting customers with what’s actually happening in the grid, connecting equipment and services, and enabling truly big data and machine learning to optimise how complex systems can drive down cost and drive up renewables.
No company has done more to pave the way to the renewable smart grid like this, and it creates a launchpad for understanding what a dynamic, technology enabled green grid may look like here in the UK, and in other countries.
We’re asking the questions:
- What would the grid look like if we’d never had fossil fuels?
- What if we see the way renewables work as beneficial not as problematic?
And then layering in huge opportunities to speed up renewables whilst driving down costs:
- Will the rapid growth of electric vehicles drive down costs of renewable electricity (finding a home for green electrons when they’re abundant means that we can afford more generation, which will increase renewables and thus drive down costs)?
- Does this enable electric heating to grow faster than current models predict?
Enabling us to drive the punchline:
- What does a 100% renewable system look like?
- How much does it cost?
- How do we get there from where we are today?
To answer this we will work with leading academic institutions (conversations are underway) and build an unrivalled team of experts in data science, econometrics, corporate finance, consumer behaviour, policy, partnerships and communications. We’ll collaborate with companies, technologies and entrepreneurs to bring the best ideas into the picture, and will work with governments to make it real.
Formal job descriptions will be posted on our website careers area soon, but if you think this is the mission for you, please do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org (and pop FERC somewhere in the subject line).
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