An interview with Ryan Wood, Partner Development Manager, and Ben Hutt, CEO and Managing Director at Evergen.
Ryan: Now over the last six months I know Evergen has done a lot of consumer research. What are some of the key messages that have come out of those surveys?
Ben: Yeah, it’s been really fascinating actually. We started off doing our own research with three and a half thousand consumers last year. And then this year, with lots of the Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) we’ve been running with networks and with retailers. We’ve been gathering feedback during and after those events too. So I feel like we’ve got a pretty solid understanding of how people feel about the future of energy.
I guess key things are consumers are super interested in the evolution of the energy system and want to participate and contribute. So people are on the journey. Second thing is people who’ve got solar and a battery are happy not to be worrying about what it’s doing and not thinking about what it’s doing every day or not controlling it as long as they trust who’s controlling it.
Ben: So what I found really interesting was we surveyed three or four groups of consumers who’ve been lending their battery through us to another utility for three to six months. They trust us to be doing the right thing with their battery. And so they’re not checking into their app every day. They’re not logging into the portal. They’re not wondering what’s happening. They’re just grateful when they get their monthly credit on their bill. And I think that’s really important because there’s a lot of sort of rubbish spouted around the industry about who’s controlling your battery. And it’s like if you bought a $30,000 car, would you let someone else drive it around all day? And I actually think in the future, we will.
Ryan: Good point.
Ben: Right? So if I get my Tesla, it’ll be Ubering during the day when I don’t need it, for sure. And I won’t worry about that because I trust Tesla not to crash it.
And I think to some extent where we’re at with energy now is if people got started on a battery, what we’ve learned and what people tell us is as long as they feel like they’re being fairly rewarded they don’t really mind what’s happening with those assets, which is great because I think we’re headed towards a decentralised system. Bloomberg two weeks ago said that Australia has the most decentralised energy system on the planet.
Ryan: Oh wow. Okay.
Ben: …which is amazing. And so this rise of a network of lots of small things all working together so that when a big, bad thing happens, like a coal plant in Queensland goes out, just as a recent example.
Ryan: Yeah, recently. Yeah.
Ben: …batteries can come to the rescue in that environment, small batteries, big batteries, batteries everywhere. And I think that decentralisation over time really gives us a resilient energy system where arguably now we’re still at the mercy of these big things when things go wrong.
If you have a solar and battery system, for information on how to join an Evergen run VPP, visit here.