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Octopus Energy launches ‘world first’ entech research organisation

Lucy Yu, CEO of the Octopus Centre for Net Zero. Image: Octopus Energy.

Lucy Yu, CEO of the Octopus Centre for Net Zero. Image: Octopus Energy.

Octopus Energy has launched an entech-led research organisation dubbed the Octopus Centre for Net Zero (OCNZ) to help create a tech-enabled green energy system.

The London-based research centre will bring together energy tech data, economic analysis and behavioural insights to create tools for policy makers and business leaders to accelerate the uptake of clean energy technologies, the company said.

A multi-disciplined team will be brought together at the centre, with specialities including data science, econometrics, behavioural science and climate policy, lead by the OCNZ’s new CEO Lucy Yu. She has 15 years of business leadership experience in building tech companies, as well as advising governments and international organisations on policy issues.

The centre – which Octopus Energy says will be the first of its kind globally – has been welcomed by energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who said that as we “build back greener” private sector and business investment will be “vital” to the UK hitting the targets laid out in the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point-Plan and the energy white paper.

“I look forward to seeing how the tools developed by the Octopus Centre for Net Zero support our efforts to tackle climate change.”

While funded by Octopus Energy, the OCNZ will operate independently and have full autonomy over its work. It will initially focus its research on transport and heating, with the two sectors considered the UK’s most carbon intensive, together accounting for 53% of overall carbon emissions in 2019.

All technology from the centre will be made publicly available to encourage knowledge transfer between countries and industry leaders, with research from the OCNZ intended for global use.

Lucy Yu, CEO of the OCNZ, said that while the climate emergency is “the biggest challenge of our lifetime”, policy and investment can help decarbonise without compromise to peoples quality of life, “but no country can solve this crisis on their own".

“By sharing best practices, tools and models, we have a chance to speed up the much needed change and get us on the fast-track to net zero,” she continued. “I can’t wait to get started and bring together a team of experts that will drive the knowledge transfer between the energy industry and policy makers.”

The ONCZ follows Octopus Energy establishing a tech hub in Manchester in November 2020, when it acquired energy software company Upside Energy and announced its intention to make the UK the ‘Silicon Valley of Energy’.

It also marks the latest expansion in Octopus Energy’s operations, which have grown dramatically since the company’s launch in 2016, and have seen it become a ‘double unicorn’. This includes expanding its leadership team, with Ofwat’s Rachel Fletcher announced as the new director of regulation and economics at Octopus Energy most recently.

This expansion saw the company launch operations last year alone in Japan, in Germany and in the US thanks to the acquisition of Silicon Valley-based startup Evolve Energy.

Octopus Energy now serves over 1.9 million UK customers, as well as its tech platform Kraken being licensed to serve 17 million accounts globally, having been licensed to the likes of E.On/npower and Good Energy in the UK, Origin in Australia and Tokyo Gas in Japan.

Greg Jackson, CEO and founder of Octopus Energy , said: “Octopus is leading the tech-enabled green energy transition globally, and we have set up this centre of excellence to share what we’ve learned on our journey so far. We hope to be a trailblazer in this area and inspire other energy companies to follow suit.”

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