Founded in 2009, Energy Pool operates load adjustments to contribute to balance supply and demand in real-time and make its C&I clients benefit from savings on their electricity bills. The company believes that demand flexibility is a key enabler of RES integration and CO2 reduction.
A key actor in the energy transition, Energy Pool has partnered with C&I clients enabling them to optimize their energy consumption and monetize their energy flexibilities (Demand Response capacities).
Energy Pool has a team of 90 people worldwide (France, Japan, Turkey, and recently Germany) and manages a global portfolio of 6 GW of flexible load and distributed generation. Through its unique software platform, the company connects, aggregates, and optimizes assets to deliver balancing and ancillary services to system operators and utilities.
At the forefront of innovation, the company is moving towards the global optimization of “complex systems” which are composed of a pool of demand assets (end-users’ installations), energy storage, and onsite generation assets. Energy Pool today positions itself as “smart energy manager of complex systems for energy market players”. Backed by a 10-year experience, the company provides Utilities and System Operators with proven expertise and technology (consulting services, DERMS, Virtual Power Plant) for their operations.
Delivering Energy Flexible Solutions
Energy Pool was set up 10 years ago by Olivier BAUD, former CEO of the main aluminum smelter in France. Olivier discovered the power of flexibility back in 2003, during a particularly severe heatwave in France. At this time, nuclear reactors could not produce at their expected level due to extremely high temperatures and EDF called main industrial consumers, including Olivier’s aluminum smelter, to ask if they could reduce their consumption, and at what price. Olivier answered positively and further developed the idea of load flexibility. Originally, load flexibility was a direct answer to secure the electric system and provide ancillary services or peak capacities to avoid blackout and shave consumption peaks.
However, Energy Pool further improved the service by considering that adjusting load was key to preserve the climate and concur to the energy transition: in fact, adjusting load instead of using highly emitting power plants or reinforcing grids can reduce the CO2 emissions. Furthermore, using load flexibility to mitigate the impacts of variable renewable energy sources can ease the integration of more renewables into the grid.
The company now has the ambition to be “a key enabler of energy transition worldwide by allowing most people to have access to clean, reliable, and competitive energy.
A Distinguished Leader in Energy Transformation
Olivier spent three years of his career in the aluminum transformation and production industry in operational and general management positions. In this industrial world, the issue of CO2 and energy is strategic, and he, therefore, acquired the first-rate experience. Both on the consumption side and the negotiation side of giant contracts, some of which exceed 50% of a country’s energy capacity.
“The development of our activities among large consumers is exciting because it requires a great deal of know-how but delivers results beyond what I imagined by making it possible to lower energy bills by 10 to 30% while allowing producers of energy to improve their performance”, says Olivier.
Driving Innovation with Disruptive Technologies
The main disruptive innovation of Energy Pool is at the core of its business: the idea of changing consumption patterns of electricity consumers (in particular industrial ones) to serve the electric system, instead of systematically calling generation plants.
The company’s first achievement is its ability to develop enough intimacy with clients to change organization little by little including their production plan, their electricity supply agreement, to finally make their load flexible and their profits higher as consumers always believe they are not flexible at all and cannot afford any change in their lean management.
“For most of Energy Pools’ consumers, we even monitor and pilot their consumption from our network operation center. This might seem trivial, but it’s not! Let’s just try to figure out that we have the hand over arc furnaces, paper mills, and other critical (and/or dangerous) industrial assets spread in various countries, and we can switch them on and off in a few seconds”, mentions Olivier.
The company achieved this challenge 10 years after its setup supported by different technologies and tools (including AI and IoT), but the purpose of these technologies is very simple in their mind: bringing as much comfort as possible for its industrial clients while maximizing the reliability of their flexibility for the electric system.
Growth Through Strategic Partnerships
Olivier believes the key in Energy Pool’s success story is to think differently and seek global optimizations between the players.
He further adds that advanced technologies are only tools, and the key point is supporting change management.
“Indeed, large companies often work a lot in silos, and power companies often see their customers as users without working well together. Thus, with TEPCO in Japan, or with RTE in France, working with their Presidents and managers allowed Energy Pool to imagine new ways of conceiving relationships and discovering unsuspected performances,” explains Olivier.
Leveraging Emerging Technologies
The company feels that technologies are decisive in all these ruptures, but they are only tools as these technologies tend to become obsolete and not used anymore, generating expenses for nothing.
Today Energy Pool’s main issue is to optimize systems that are becoming more and more complex, with new players, new markets, new regulations.
Then, the most important driver for the company is its global vision and its ability to make very different trades work together, from legal to mathematicians, and from social to sales.
As a consequence, Energy Pool still uses and updates its tools, solutions, and technologies continue to make most of the technics, but also remain pragmatic and focuses on the service to be delivered to the client.
Remarkable Awards and Achievements
Energy Pool’ received numerous awards since 2010, and all of them were appreciated by the company since it rewards the hard work of its truly dedicated and motivated team.
Two of the notable awards the company achieved are- Asia Utility Week in 2017, in which the company received a significative distinction for being the key energy partner of TEPCO (Large-Scale & innovative Demand Response). This distinction was the first foreign price Energy Pool won, and the company was particularly proud of being recognized in Asia as a trustful energy partner. On top of that, the company feels that this award was probably a good signal, since, three years later, Energy Pool is still partnering with TEPCO and even reinforcing their collaboration.
The second prize Energy Pool received was a French one, awarded in 2017 by “Décideurs magazine” a magazine for business leaders. It distinguished the company management for being “Human capital leader”. The company believes that this is also a very important aspect of the management, putting human considerations and collaboration at the core of its DNA. After 10 years, Energy Pool can clearly identify the main success factor of its projects: personal dedication of the company’s collaborators and its ability to work together in a trans-disciplinary manner.
The Future Ahead
Commenting on the future, Olivier foresees Energy Pool as a world leader in the optimization of increasingly complex assemblies to allow players, in different configurations, in different countries, in order to significantly reduce CO2 in an economically and technically viable way.