Today, we’re thrilled to introduce Chantel Scheepers, CEO of OakTree Power. With a career spanning over 15 years in clean technology, Chantel is a visionary leader who has been at the forefront of the energy sector’s paradigm shift. In this episode, we delve into the concept of energy flexibility, the challenges of modernizing energy infrastructure, and how to “eat the elephant” of energy transition one bite at a time.
Over the last 15 years, Chantel has been a tireless advocate for clean technology and has successfully deployed smart grids and Virtual Power Plants across 17 countries. Her mission is to catalyze a sustainable world for us all, and she does so with a unique blend of passion, intelligence, and a deep sense of duty to future generations.
– What is Energy Flexibility?
Chantel explains that energy flexibility is akin to an overbooked flight where passengers are paid to take a later flight. In the energy world, grid operators pay clients to use less electricity during times of network congestion. This approach not only alleviates stress on ageing infrastructure but also offers a more sustainable solution.
– The Elephant in the Room: Infrastructure Challenges
Chantel discusses the enormous investment needed to upgrade existing energy infrastructure, estimated at up to 21 trillion dollars by 2050. She emphasizes that smart, distributed grids are the future, as upgrading existing networks is neither sustainable nor cost-effective.
– Sustainability and Social Impact
Chantel shares her personal passion for energy sustainability, particularly in Africa, where nearly 700 million people still lack access to electricity. She believes in building a system that benefits not just today’s consumers but future generations as well.
– Collaborative Approach
OakTree Power works closely with clients and governing bodies to make knowledge available and find internal champions within organizations. Their solutions promise to offer up to 30% reduction in baseline energy costs, making them both cost-effective and sustainable.
– The Big Picture
Chantel’s mission is to take energy flexibility into as many markets as possible. She cites impressive statistics, such as a potential annual saving of 24 million kilowatt-hours if more buildings adopted OakTree Power’s program, equivalent to nearly 9,000 tonnes of CO2 saved every year.
The Metaphor: Eating an Elephant
Chantel uses the metaphor of “eating an elephant a bite at a time” to describe the energy transition. While significant strides have been made, there’s still a long way to go. The key is to tackle the challenge systematically, making incremental but impactful changes.