World’s first ‘entech’ net zero trailblazer launched in London

Lucy Yu, CEO of the Octopus Centre for Net Zero
Lucy Yu, CEO, Octopus Centre for Net Zero

The world’s first ‘entech’-led research house has been launched in London, designed to create models and policy recommendations for potential paths to a net zero green energy future. Aiming to boost knowledge-transfer between countries and industry leaders, the new centre will make its technology publicly available to grow a global community of collaborators.

The Octopus Centre for Net Zero (OCNZ) will combine energy tech (entech) data, economic analysis and behavioural insights to develop the tools that policymakers and businesses around the world need to accelerate uptake of clean technologies and green energy. The Centre is funded by Octopus Energy, the UK fast-growth disruptor which recently hit $2bn valuation.

The research centre will bring together an unrivalled, interdisciplinary team of experts from data science, econometrics, behavioural science and climate policy to find answers to the most pressing issues in energy. Although funded by Octopus Energy, the OCNZ will be independent and have full autonomy over its work. Partners in the Centre launch include the Centre for AI & Climate and Open Climate Fix.

Its initial research will focus on two of the UK’s most carbon-heavy sectors, residential heating and transport, which together accounted for 53% of overall carbon emissions in 2019.

The OCNZ will be headed up by Lucy Yu, an accomplished business leader with 15 years of experience in building groundbreaking tech teams and advising governments and international organisations on policy issues. She was voted one of Financial Times Top 100 Most Influential BAME Leaders in Tech in 2019, and is an associate fellow at the Tony Blair Institute, where she researches public policy for cleantech and decarbonisation.

The OCNZ is the latest in a long line of initiatives of Octopus Energy to take climate and energy issues directly to government level, aiming to create real change within the industry and promote carbon neutrality. 

Speaking about the initiaitve, UK Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

“The UK is leading the world in the green industrial revolution, from being the first major economy to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, to setting ambitious targets in the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point-Plan and our Energy White Paper.  

“As we build back greener, private sector and business investment is going to be vital in helping us hit our targets and I look forward to seeing how the tools developed by the Octopus Centre for Net Zero support our efforts to tackle climate change.”

Emphasising the benefits of collaborative working , launch CEO of the Octopus Centre for Net Zero, Lucy Yu added:

“The climate emergency is the biggest challenge of our lifetime, but good policies and investments can help decarbonise our planet without compromising 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.”

Greg Jackson, CEO and founder of Octopus Energy, concluded:

“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.”

Octopus Energy Group (OEG) was launched in 2016 with a vision of using technology to make the green energy revolution affordable whilst transforming customer experiences. Its domestic energy arm already serves over 1.9 million customers with cheaper greener power, through Octopus Energy, M&S Energy, Affect Energy, London Power and Co-op Energy.

Octopus Energy for Business manages over 20,000 customers with proprietary energy offerings. Octopus Electric Vehicles helps make clean transport cheaper and easier, plus Octopus Energy Services brings smart products to thousands of homes. 

All of these are made possible by OEG’s tech arm, Kraken Technologies, which offers a proprietary, in-house platform based on advanced data and machine learning capabilities, Kraken automates much of the energy supply chain to boost service and efficiency as the world transitions to a decentralised, decarbonised energy system. This technology has been licensed to support over 17 million accounts worldwide, through deals with Good Energy, E.ON energy and Origin Energy. 

In December 2020, Octopus Energy Group was valued at over $2bn after closing its second investment round of the year led by international energy companies Tokyo Gas and Origin Energy. With operations in the US, Japan, Germany, New Zealand and Australia, the OEG mission to drive the affordable green revolution is going global. 

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