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Podcast S13E04

100th episode – Jon’s top ten

John Slowe, Director of Delta-EE

This is the 100th episode of Talking New Energy! We are delighted to reach this milestone. Today, Jon talks us through extracts from 10 episodes which he feels best bring the energy transition to life.

Episode transcript

[00:00:04.730] - Jon

Welcome to Talking New Energy, a podcast from Delta-EE, the new energy experts. We'll be talking about how the energy transition is developing across Europe with guests who are working at the leading edge of this transition.

[00:00:33.190] - Jon

Hello, and welcome to the episode. Not any old episode, but our 100th episode of Talking New Energy. I'm incredibly excited to have reached this milestone, but most of all, I'm honoured to have so many people listening to all of the episodes we've recorded. Most of our listeners are, most of you are in Europe, also in North America, in Asia and beyond as well. It's been great bumping into some of you at industry events, meeting with you, talking with you, and hearing about what you like and find interesting about the podcast. So to celebrate the hundredth episode, I'm putting together ten extracts from different episodes that I think best bring the energy transition to life. So then my top ten extracts from some of my favorite episodes. For those of you listening that have been guests, you're all my favourites. Every episode is a favourite episode, but I had to pick ten for this podcast today. And here's what we have. So in no particular order, I'm starting with an extract from series nine, episode two of series nine, where I talked for the second time actually with Joris Jonker, founder and CEO at econic, a company based in the Netherlands, bringing e-homes to as many customers as they can.

[00:02:02.110] - Jon

And the reason I'm picking this extract is through Joris’s experience of growing Quby, a smart thermostat company and now growing econic. I've found there's no shortage of people with good ideas in the energy transition. There's no shortage of startups. What's really, really hard is scaling and Joris has achieved that once with Quby and is on the way to achieving that with econic. And what he has to say about his experience and the mistakes he's made, I found fascinating.

[00:02:35.890] - Joris

So that means that initially when I spoke to Delta-EE, first we planned to have the heat pump as the core offering. But now, because we have this large solar company, we will also start offering just Solar as a service. Yeah, again, small steps because I found that similarity with Quby. And back to your last question is we were also too advanced from the start with Quby, this device was able to do everything in your home. Smart home, smart energy, thermostat energy control, virtual power plant. Everything was built in. But that's not what consumers, they like to buy just one functionality. So we were successful when we started selling the tone as just a thermostat. Okay, so what I learned what's the similarity is, maybe two things. One is consumers. In the end, they need an integrated system, but they like to buy it in small steps. So actually, I made a very big mistake, which I should not have done. When we launched econic at least tried to sell this full e-home with the heat pump and solar panel on the battery and everything combined. And now after two and a half years, we decided to make this big change.

[00:04:15.000] - Joris

You can buy EV charging, you can buy solar panel, you can buy heat pump, you can buy a battery or you can buy two or three or everything. I believe that consumers, they want to take these small steps. And of course, in the new builds, it's the full Monty and there will be customers who will buy everything. But most customers like to first buy one component and hopefully they will buy that component from econic because we are able to provide the whole system.

[00:04:54.090] - Jon

In both cases Joris, I guess you started with a vision and ultimately well, with Quby, you got maybe not every aspect of what you described in that vision, but you are taking steps towards that with the econic. Again, you started with that vision. Some parts of the market you could fulfill it, but other parts you realize that was too big a step. And it makes me think a bit about scaling because a lot of, I remember one conversation with a big energy retailer and they said, I want a proposition that's low capex, low risk, highly scalable, can get to a volume quickly. Well, don't we all? But that scale, that speed of growth is really important to make a difference to the energy transition, to move the needle for a company's financial performance. And what you've described is in customer facing businesses. To move the needle, to get that growth, you've got to be very pragmatic. You might have a vision, but as you say, if you only sell a big step to customers, you'll have a very small part of the market. You've got to provide those stepping stones for customers and take them on a journey.

[00:06:08.090] - Jon

Extract number two is from episode eight of our first series where I talked with Charlotte Blou Sand, who is founder and CEO of True Energy in Denmark, and Simon Schmitz, founder and CEO of aWattar. They'll both in the extract explain what they do. But I picked this extract because since recording this, both companies have been acquired by larger companies who are now in the process of scaling them. In the case of True Energy, Charlotte's company that was acquired by Landis & Gyr, the metering company, and Simon Schmitz’s company, aWattar has recently been acquired by tado the smart thermostat company. So this I think is a really nice illustration of how startups can scale sometimes organically, sometimes through being acquired. Let's hear from Charlotte and Simon.

[00:07:07.250] - Charlotte

Yeah. True Energy is an electricity supplier and we sell electricity at hourly rates. What makes us different from our suppliers is that we have developed an app that integrates to electrical vehicles. And through the app we smart charge the car, meaning that we will automatically charge the car during the hours of the night where cheapest during the hours where the production of electricity has the lowest carbon emissions. And we are also working on integrating to chargers and heat pumps and freezers and other household appliances, so we will be able to automatically optimize their energy consumption through our easy to use apps.

[00:07:54.830] - Jon

How long have you been doing this, Charlotte? How long has True Energy been about?

[00:08:00.650] - Charlotte

Just for one year.

[00:08:03.050] - Jon

And what brought you into this area? What's your background?

[00:08:08.030] - Charlotte

Yeah, our background is from software development. We want to apply the knowledge that we have from that business to optimization and user behaviour in the electricity industry.

[00:08:21.350] - Jon

Okay. Let's now introduce my second guest, Simon Schmitz from aWattar in Austria. Simon, what can I buy from aWattar if I'm in Austria?

[00:08:36.900] - Simon

Hi. We also offer a dynamic hourly tariff that basically passes on the prices from the spot market to the end customer, which has been a completely new concept in Austria when we started back in 2015. And we're now also rolling this out to Germany, and it's still a totally new concept there as well. So we are trying to really push the envelope in enabling the demand side flexibility in that sense. And we're also offering different kinds of services to help customers automate the low shifting. And we're partnering with quite a few hardware manufacturers to achieve this.

[00:09:27.610] - Jon

Okay. And you've been at this a bit longer than Charlotte, but what's your background and what brought you into this area?

[00:09:37.410] - Simon

I was actually working for a big energy supplier in the UK and Germany before I found it aWattar, and it just became apparent there that there was a big problem with the renewable energy storage. It was really being recognized. But the big suppliers, especially the power generation side of the big suppliers, didn't really seem to have an interest in enabling the customers to be part of the solution. And yeah, that was sort of at least part of the inspiration to start our own energy supplier.

[00:10:11.670] - Jon

The second part of this extract I like because Charlotte illustrates the challenges of scaling, and particularly when you're trying to automate and connect different devices together, the different protocols, the lack of standards, and the hard, hard work that's needed to go product by product and connect them to a platform.

[00:10:35.190] - Charlotte

Yeah, the concept is quite simple, but in reality, it's quite a lot more complicated. First of all, because all the car brands are different, so it's a lot of work actually, to be able to communicate with each car and get access to relevant data. And when we continue with the integration to heat pumps, it’s going to multiplied this challenge. And secondly, people behave differently, so we had to implement all kinds of rules and exemptions into the app. If you had to charge right now, even though it's the most expensive hours, what if several people use the same tab? Or have different preferences.

[00:11:22.530] Jon

Okay. So when you start to get into this, it quickly becomes more complex than it might seem initially. Charlotte, presumably every car manufacturer is different. Does that mean you've got to have commercial arrangements with every car manufacturer or you've got to have bilateral discussions and agreements with all the different manufacturers?

[00:11:48.250] - Charlotte

There are various ways. So some of them we have discussed it, but we could just use it depends. It's more like a case by case decision.

[00:12:01.330] - Jon

Now, extract number three is relating to customers, and loyal listeners to the podcast will know I often talk about customer centricity and not the lack of it, but the way in which the energy sector needs to get far better at engaging customers, particularly as the energy system becomes more distributed, more decentralized, more and more of the energy system will actually be in customers homes, in their buildings, at their industrial sites. And this extract is with Marzia Zafar from Kaluza, which is part of the OVO Group of companies. And Marzia is talking about using their platform to provide insights for their customers, and not just general insights, but personalized insights, let's hear from Marzia.

[00:12:54.920] - Marzia

So to me, I feel like customer engagement is very much lagging in the energy industry because energy is a basic necessity. We just want to switch the light on, have the light come on. We don't really care about the billing, but when you actually now have as a customer, when you start to put smart devices in your home and your bill goes up, that's the point where the customer wants to engage. That's when the customer says, okay, well, how am I supposed to do this? How can I take advantage of this? And I think I see a lot of hope and seeing a lot of customer engagement once they get smart devices in their homes.

[00:13:38.720] - Jon

Yeah. Okay. Things really interesting, what you said about different customer types, because another thing I see the energy set to being very guilty of is talking about the customer. There's not one type, there's all loads of types. Segmenting them is really important. How do you build that into your worker at OVO? I mean, I see a big difference between incumbent energy companies and the new breed of energy companies. It's easier to have a different culture in a new energy company than in incumbent. But tell us a bit about how in Kaluza or OVO, you really embed that customer centric thinking.

[00:14:23.440] - Marzia

So we don't want to build for the techie customer. We want to build technology for the non techie customer. That's our goal. If we build technology that a non techie customer would want to use, we've succeeded. And the way we do that is we talk to these customers and we ask customers, what do you need for you to want to engage? And one thing, for instance, that we have planned for as part of the Kaluza platform is a customer spotlight. So when you go to your OVO energy bill and you see your OVO energy bill online, you get a spotlight that is only tailored to that customer and nobody else. And the more personalized you make the interface, the easier it is for the customer to want to participate because they get interested. So our number one goal is to make it more personalized, to make it tailored for each customer and to make sure that if we build for the non techie, then we've covered almost everybody.

[00:15:42.950] - Jon

And in the second part of this extract, Marzia talks about how as a company, they use customer insights or how that permeates the whole company. And that bit struck home with me because in a number of my podcasts, I've talked with CEOs, the CEOs of quite big energy retailers. Even the CEOs talk to customers and answer customer emails. And that really helps to embed the customer experience right across the company.

[00:16:14.640] - Marzia

I think the key is because everybody's going to say they're customer centric. I think the key is are you thinking that customer centricity means one customer archetype or all customer archetypes? And are you thinking that customer is yourself or the actual customers in their houses? I think sometimes people may assume that you are the customer that you're building for, and we try to avoid that as much as we can.

[00:16:49.570] - Jon

Yeah. And that's by a lot of focus group research, a lot of primary customer research, bringing that voice of the customer right into your business.

[00:16:57.870] - Marzia

Yeah. And for us, even management, we get a weekly update titled Voice of the Customer. And that goes not just to middle management or to analysts that goes all the way to the CEO of the company. Everybody gets to hear the voice of the customer on a weekly basis. Friday afternoon, we get that email.

[00:17:22.220] - Jon

Okay. I like that.

[00:17:25.330] - Jon

My fourth extract is a podcast episode with Philip Pausder, CEO of the Thermondo, a German heating installation company, or online heating sales and installation company. I chose this because in this distributed, decentralized world that we're moving into, installing equipment in customer's homes and selling equipment to customers, be it a more efficient heating system in this case, but it could be an electric vehicle charger, could be a solar panel and battery. The process of selling and installing with customers becomes really critical. And I think Philip is a great example of a company that's making that whole process as seamless as possible for customers.

[00:18:14.950] - Jon

Okay, let's move to the second question about installers and the different models. Rox, let's start with you again. And from the research that you've been doing, to what degree do companies with more of an online presence, to what degree are they using their own installers or to what degree are they contracting installers?

[00:18:41.290] - Rox

So it really depends on the company and the country. There's one example I can think of in the UK where they employ their installers directly, and I think it's similar in France with some of the energy suppliers there. But a lot of the new entrance in this space, at least in the UK, they work by subcontracting their installers, so they won't have installers employed full time. They'll only use them when they have jobs coming in from customers. And I'd say that's probably the more common route for the newer players.

[00:19:14.010] - Jon

So that's a real Uber type model, then connecting to connect installers to jobs. And what do installers think of that? Do we have installers that are purely working for these types of companies in an Uber model, or are they mixing and matching their own sales and then working for these platform companies?

[00:19:37.270] - Rox

So we did some research with installers recently and asked whether or not they’re subcontracting and how much work they are getting this way. And it was really interesting because we found that I think it was about 50% of installers said that they're only getting a quarter of their work through the subcontracting channels, but a lot of them think that will increase. So what happens, I think, is that installers usually sign up to these platforms, get one or two jobs this way, and then they sort of realize that it's quite easy. They don't have the hassle of doing all the quotations and payments and then they start to take on more and more once they're sort of more comfortable with it.

[00:20:18.330] - Jon

So a move towards more of an Uber type model. From what you've seen, Philip, you've gone down a different route. Can you tell us about your experiences of how you started and where you're at now and why you've gone that way?

[00:20:35.950] - Philip

Yeah. So in the very beginning. We also went for that kind of model where we actually wanted to be even less than Uber, we would want to be just a broker. Then we went to an Uber model if you wanted. And then ultimately, like in six to nine months after the launch, we went for the full integration. And that was definitely the right one for the first three years. I mean, keep in mind, we were one of the fast growing companies in Europe, actually, as per financial times during those years, 13 to 16. So there was no limit to our growth. Interestingly, although the capital market actually told us a lot of sceptics were out there saying this will limit your growth. And I think whether that is the right way to do or not also very much depends on the labour market. Obviously, if you had launched in a country like Spain in those years with an unemployment rate of beyond 20%, that's much more relaxed labour market. Now in Germany, there's literally no unemployment. It's certainly not for skilled labour. From that perspective, it did make sense to do what we did. It also made sense because we had direct access to obviously we could train our people, we could invest in our people, we could create something like a Thermondo way of installation and obviously train our processes.

And I guess with a more complex actual technical job that is more important than with a less complex one because you literally make more mistakes.

[00:22:07.550] - Jon

The fifth extract is from episode five of season six, which looked at the topic of energy insights and customer engagement. And I was lucky enough to talk with Hakan Ludvigson, CEO and founder of Eliq, the energy insights company, and Ronald Root, who's a data science enabler at Dutch energy retailer Eneco. And the conversation around energy insights I found both fascinating and also so important. There's so much more data available in the energy sector now, but how that data is turned into personalized insights in the way Marzia was talking about earlier, I think will be absolutely key to engaging customers and taking them on a journey to reduce their carbon emissions and become part of a decentralized energy system.

[00:23:00.350] - Hakan

Yeah, I think from my side, I think there's just one thing I wanted to pick up on. I think sort of looking at how energy insights have worked over the past 5-10 years, we look at it as very much you typically have a data science company or Department that will look at, oh, here's a lot of smart meter data, let's do something with it. What are the cool insights we can find out that can add some value to people's lives and you'll process it and you'll ship something back to the customers mentioned earlier, like bar chart or a pie chart of disaggregated consumption or whatever? And that's not actually, I think that's something that's going to go away more and more. I think what we're moving into now is much more of a two way relationship between energy suppliers and their customers, and that's both in terms of these digital products as well as the business model, you might be participating in flexibility programs, you might be generating your own electricity and so on. And that kind of one way street of taking some data, drawing some conclusions and shipping you a home energy report with whether it's with your electricity bill or with email, that you won't really get that close to the customer in that approach.

[00:24:33.550] - Hakan

So whereas if you manage to build a digital channel to communicate with your customers and engage with and not engage, not engage a customer, but engage with a customer, you can also learn from them. So how do they react to this piece of advice? How did they find or experience these different elements? If we told you that you would save €15 per year, if you turn your heater down by a third of a degree, does that make an impact or does it have to be £50 for you to care at all? So I think that's really the direction that I think we're going to see the whole market go, and ultimately that's what we do.

[00:25:28.070] - Jon

So very much we can engage with rather than provide insights to. And I guess, Ronald, that comes all the way back to the beginning where you talked about feedback and this being having that feedback loop with the customer.

[00:25:45.290] - Ronald

I agree with Hakan that the bar chart or a pie chart itself for the data mining geeks like myself is very interesting and probably something that I will talk to my wife about. But for a lot of our customers, they'll simply just chop it away and only you do engage with the customer. And it has, I think, feedback in itself, or at least that's how I call engagement. You'll learn something about the customer at the same time. And actually not whole message can be labelled work.

[00:26:26.090] - Jon

My 6th extract is from episode five of season two. When I talked with Greg Jackson, who is the founder and CEO of Octopus Energy. Now Octopus is a well, was it not that long ago a startup? When I spoke to Greg, they were already one of the fastest growing energy retailers in the UK. And since the recording, they've grown internationally both in terms of energy retail and with their Kraken platform, and very famously a unicorn in their valuation. So a hugely successful company. And with Greg, I talked about both customer centricity and the use of technology and how he sees technology both being good for customers and helping customers become part of the energy system. Fascinating discussion. Let's hear now that conversation with Greg.

[00:27:25.370] - Jon

You talked a bit about coming from a tech background, but part of that will involve tech, but part of that just involves thinking, putting the customer first in your thinking, I imagine.

[00:27:37.550] - Greg

Yeah. I think far too often companies in incumbent industries like energy think of tech as being a way to cut costs, but actually it's a way of reinventing the entire customer experience. So tech can bring transparency. We often remark, Uber shows you where the car is. Deliveroo lets you know that the guy is about to knock on your door, that transparency in the operation applies just as much in energy. So my question is now that it's basically costless to give information to customers, how do we give them as much information as possible to enable them to easily understand what's going on with energy? And then our article states is that if we're transparent and open with them, they'll choose to stay with us, even when a company with a different strategy might offer them a short term better deal. All of the above, I think there's a great video from Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon  in 1998. When Amazon had just started opening, building its own warehouses and the interviewer said, I thought you were an internet company and here you are building real estate. And Bezos said, ‘Internet, shminternet. It's all about the customer. We will do whatever it takes to bring our customers better products and services and better value’.

And so if that means building a warehouse so we can reduce the delivery time. We will do that. And I think it's the same here. It's all about the customer customers require energy. They're not bothered whether it's coming down a wire or from 1000 miles or whether it's coming from next door. What they want is their energy needs met. And our job is to understand the very best way of meeting those energy needs and bringing the products and services that will do that with the best value that suits their lifestyle in a way that makes them happy.

[00:29:37.070] - Jon

So if I turn that question around a bit, then to achieve that aim, how quickly do you think your business will shift from being almost purely based on centralized commodity to optimizing, for example, electric heating or electric vehicle charging or vehicle to grid even?

[00:30:00.650] - Greg

I don't think it's sort of an either or a shift. I think it's just an increasing number of ways in which we will meet that customer need. So, for example, today I think we've decommodified electrons to a high degree. We've got plenty of customers now who have tariffs that give them super cheap electricity to charge electric vehicles at certain times of night, the ones who got tariffs that mirror the half hourly wholesale price and that charge peak pricing when their network is busy and super off peak pricing when it's not. So already, one electron is very different than another. And I think the more we move to a world in which a green electron traveling a short distance, then an empty wire is a cheap electron, the better. Now, that could mean solar panels or batteries. It could mean that we put a facility at the end of your road. It could mean we're supplying you from next door. But I think that creativity in the way that we meet the customer needs is already beginning to happen.

[00:31:08.430] - Jon

Now for energy retailers, a future with more active customers with personalized insights, of course, is very different from the future they've been in. And while companies like OVO and Octopus could reinvent or develop their own back office systems from scratch, many utilities or big energy retailers need to adapt their back office infrastructure. Sounds like a bit of a boring topic, but it's crucially important for them to succeed in the energy transition. And in the next extract, which is episode eight from series six, my colleague Andy Bradley hosted this episode and he spoke with Wytse Kaastra from Accenture, who work with utilities on transforming their back office infrastructure. And Wytse’s perspective on that I found really interesting, and that the challenges that big utilities or incumbent energy retailers have with their back office infrastructure.

[00:32:10.770] - Wytse

But of course, there is a difference between the top strategy and the top thinkers and the execution on the ground. I think that's where the challenges that we currently see is that although the strategy might be great, the execution is poor and also because technology is moving so quickly.

So what was relevant five years ago is already outdated now, and what's hot now is already might be updated in six months. So you need to keep enormously up to date with all the new trends and technologies and also your people need to evolve. I mean, the French say ‘education permanente’, you need to learn over and over and over because the knowledge is just disappearing while you're looking at it. So I think that's really the challenge. And that's also how we try to help our clients is by building digital factories, by collaborating together, bringing in digital experience, bringing in design thinkers, bringing in ecosystem partners, software vendors to keep that ecosystem and that factory running and helping them with that. Next to that, perhaps another trend is it's not only the IT organizations anymore, it's really much more business led because these technologies, this whole digital transformation, digital is a business challenge because it's not only technology supporting something, its actually the technology might be the new product or the new service. So I think also this convergence between the business and IT is very prominent on the agenda. And I think that separation that we had probably ten or 20 years ago is not relevant anymore.

It's really business NIT working together in this digital transformation type of approach. And again, some companies have it better than others.

[00:34:05.250] - Jon

Now, in the ten extracts, there had to be an episode on electric vehicles, given the traction that it's getting. And we went to Norway for one of our episodes, not literally, virtually, to talk with one of Norway's leading public charging providers, talked with Ole Henrik Hannisdahl, CEO of Mer Norway, about their experience in growing their public charging network. Staying on the theme of customers, I think Ole's experience of how to set things up in a way that customers could understand and use and was simple from pricing to the chargers themselves struck home for me the challenges of customers adopting new technology. Like many of you, I'm an electric vehicle driver and the charging, you have to work at it sometimes when you're using public charging. So it was really interesting hearing Ole's experience of what they've learnt over the years and how they can simplify things for customers.

[00:35:06.850] - Ole

The real trick is to get the user experience correct. And that's not only about the books, it's about how you work with your location partner. So this ties into the place you're actually at. It's about how it ties into the app, it's about how it ties into the car. It's about how you enable 5000 people every month, come through our network for the first time. So they've never charged their car and they're in front of a charger with something they don't know their new electric car and they're supposed to use that with a charger which they don't know with an app or something. And these people are not tech savvy advantaged guys, they're my grandmother.

They don't know what a kilowatt is. They don't care what a kilowatt is. They just want this to work.

[00:35:53.430] - Jon

Well, Abishek you told me once you had over 50 charging apps on your phone?

[00:35:59.010] - Abhishek

52 different apps on my phone, just to get around the UK, which gets tiring.

[00:36:07.410] - Jon

Quickly. That's an amazing number. 5000 new people using your network every month. What have you learnt about that. Over the years?  You must have learnt tons about what they find easy, what they find hard, what goes wrong?

[00:36:28.830] - Ole

So this system, the chargers and the cars are designed by engineers. And to a large extent, for engineers, it's supposed to work on a standard. It doesn't. As an example, if you want to charge a BMW i3 for some reason you have to close the front door. I don't know why. If you want to charge a Golf of the first model, you will have to, after you plug into the charger, you have a 15 second window during which you have to start the charger. If you fail to do that, you will have to physically unplug before anything can happen. There are a million things like this and the sum of it is that when you're in front of the charger for the first time, even if you're tech savvy, this is going to be a struggle. And we have cameras on the charger, on the charging station, so we can see what people are doing. And the classic is male, 45, standing in front of this thing with two cables, like just looking at the abyss, sort of. So user experience and ease of use is really important. The first time you do this, it needs to work quickly.

Over time you can start building loyalty and understanding. But that first time it's just supposed to work. Let's just consider something very basic. You've bought an Audi, you're coming with your Audi e-tron to some sort of service station with chargers and you drive in and there's a bunch of boxes over there is Tesla. The plug will physically fit on your car, but nothing will happen if you plug in. Next to that, you will have, let's say, Ubitricity or something, right? And they will have several boxes. They will have a 50 kilowatt charter and 150 kilowatt charters. And these things are priced differently. So even before you've parked, you have to make a choice between three different places. Should I go to Tesla? Should I go to that small charger? Should I go to that large charger? And making that decision means you need to know what sort of car you're driving, what sort of station you're looking at, what sort of prices at that station. And no average customer will do that. So part of the trick here is to eliminate all that complexity and just try to make it as simple as it is humanly possible to make this.

[00:38:46.290] - Jon

Now, the other topic that's on a lot of people's minds these days and brings out a lot of strong emotions as well is hydrogen. So for the 9th extract, I took episode eight of series five where I've talked Raluca Leordeanu of Nel Hydrogen, the Norwegian electronizing manufacturer. And Raluca talks about her pipeline. But I particularly like the way she talked about dreamers because it can be hard work pushing the energy transition forward, as many of you will know. And at times we all need to dream and be inspired by our dreams. And I like Raluca's characterization of the dreamers that she comes across.

[00:39:34.490] - Raluca

Our pipeline is growing very fast. Year by year. We see projects are larger and larger. The average size of the project is increasing. We have more projects that are over 100 MW in the pipeline, and we see more and more companies entering the industry on the customer side. Yes, there are some companies that don't really understand the space yet. You can call them dreamers, but in general, there are a lot of serious players that have clear plans and put down the money to invest.

[00:40:11.710] - Jon

And how do you manage that? Do the dreamers, as you call it, take a lot of time in terms, or do you have to filter out the dreamers quite early on in your business development and sales activities?

[00:40:28.530] - Raluca

Yeah, we do our best to understand who's serious and who's not and dedicate the time to the right projects. That is always a balancing gap. Sometimes the dreamers actually do get the project done.

[00:40:37.510] - Jon

Now, the last extract is from episode eight of season five. And when we went all the way virtually again to Bangladesh to talk with Sebastian Groh, managing director of ME-Solshare, my colleague Nigel spoke with Sebastian, and you may wonder why I'm finishing with one on Bangladesh. Well, you'll be familiar with the concept of leapfrogging on how emerging economies can sometimes leapfrog Western economies. We like to think that Europe is in the lead when it comes to the energy transition, and in many ways it is. But this example from Bangladesh I found absolutely fascinating, and I was very humbled with my sometimes Eurocentric thinking about what Sebastian has achieved in Bangladesh and how customers in Bangladesh are using solar and an amazing number of batteries and the business model that Sebastian pioneered around that technology, let's hear from Sebastian.

[00:41:44.350] - Sebastian

They already took kind of their fate in their own hands by investing their money into a solar home system and had to pay this every month. And they also knew like, okay, what is the size and how much does it produce me? And they also know, okay, if I have more efficient appliances, I can watch TV longer in the night or I can do whatever I want. So I think in terms of when you use another word, energy literacy, those people, in terms of literacy, in terms of how solar power works, how energy efficiency plays out are probably much more literate than we are. And that is very important.

[00:42:22.990] - Nigel

That's very interesting. Yes, I haven't really thought about it like that. But you're right. I suppose the average Western energy user simply has to have, needs no knowledge at all of what goes on beyond the socket.

[00:42:38.880] - Sebastian

Eaxactly. That's what I meant. What is difficult just to finish that point is still going to the people and telling them, hey, look, now you can earn money from your system. That is a big jump. That is something which is really hard to get across. And there's a very specific reason for that. And that is the people have always lived under constraints and constraints means I have a 50 Watt peak panel. If I use too much, I go dark. So if you tell someone now, hey, now you can sell. The first reaction is fear. And why fear? Because fear of not having enough. And now you're asking me to sell. That doesn't make any sense. No. And then for me, new accounted too. But no, you can make money. No, I don't want to make money. I want to have power. So that's something we had to learn for a long time, that before through the interconnection of individual systems. As long as we cannot guarantee a certain service uptime, we'll never get someone to sell power. So it's not like that. I switch on and say, okay, now you're interacting with your neighbor and now start selling.

It doesn't work like that. Unfortunately, you have to grow the platform and you have to gain the trust.

[00:43:55.010] - Nigel

That's interesting. So you've got this more energy aware market, but there's psychological issues to do with the whole concept of trading itself. You talk about fear there and the fear of not having enough. Does storage play a part in that or is the storage not part of this story?

[00:44:22.970] - Sebastian

I think that's the most remarkable thing. And again, I'm trying to build that bridge. If we look into the Western world, we're all waiting for the next power walls to go out and all trying to get storage into the houses. When I say 5 million solar home systems, I don't say 5 million solar PV panels, I say systems, which means these 5 million are also 5 million batteries in the houses. Which country has 5 million batteries in 5 million households? That's a very rare thing.

[00:44:56.590] - Jon

So that's my top ten extracts. I hope you've enjoyed listening to them. A big thank you to all of the guests that have appeared on Talking New Energy for your time. If you'd like to appear or if you've got ideas for episodes, please do get in touch with us. A huge thank you to you for listening and please give us feedback. Tell us what you'd like to hear and hope you do keep continuing to listen to the next hundred episodes, maybe not every one of them, maybe every one of them. And last thank you to my colleagues at Delta-EE, those that have appeared on the podcast sharing their expertise, and those that do all the harder work behind the scenes to produce the episodes and to get them up on their various platforms that you use. Very exciting and a great honour to record this 100th episode and thank you to all of you for listening. Look forward to welcoming you back to another episode soon. Thanks and goodbye.

[00:46:17.350] - Jon

If you're as passionate about the energy transition as we are then please keep in touch. You can follow us and me on Twitter LinkedIn or subscribe to the podcasts on your chosen podcast platform. If you like the podcast and like sharing then please do rate us and to listen to archived episodes to read transcripts and to see the latest Delta-EE insights, then please visit www.delta-ee.com.

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