Octopus Energy has outlined its intention to make the UK the “Silicon Valley of energy” with plans for a new technology, data science and AI centre.
This is to be located in Manchester, and will develop smart grid technologies, with the idea of supporting both a renewable system and the electrification of transport and heating.
It will see collaboration across London, Manchester and the Silicon Valley, which Octopus said will help facilitate greener heating by delivering systems that automatically warm homes when the grid is greenest.
Technology and innovation has been on Octopus' radar for some time, with the company already operating the cloud-based energy platform Kraken, with companies such as E.On and Good Energy in the UK, and Origin Energy and Hanwha Corporation in Australia, turning to the platform to help facilitate their own operations.
In September, Octopus Energy launched into the US through the acquisition of Silicon Valley-based startup Evolve Energy, with the move allowing it to rollout Kraken in the US.
Greg Jackson, Octopus Energy CEO, lauded the platform as “revolutionising the energy industry in the same way” as when Apple created the App Store, stating that the company is "creating jobs not just through increased demand for affordable renewables, but by facilitating the development of new and emerging industries like electric vehicles, electric heating and vertical farming."
As part of its ambitions to turn the UK into the energy equivalent of Silicon Valley, Octopus is also to create 1,000 new jobs across London, Brighton, Warwick and Leicester by 2021, doubling its current workforce.
These jobs are to primarily go to graduates, with opportunities for those from STEM backgrounds to work in operations and green energy tech, it said.
This comes only weeks after Octopus opened a new office in Brighton, creating 80 new jobs in the area.
Today's announcement was welcomed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who praised Octopus as helping to “ensure we continue to build back greener and remain a world leader in pioneering renewable energy, leading the path to net zero whilst creating thousands of skilled jobs”.