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Gentrack gains ground on SAP and other legacy solutions

High demand for Gentrack: Utility-specific software is leading the digital revolution towards Net Zero.

"Gentrack shares has grown more than 800% in 4 years"

 

The world is currently facing a climate crisis that cannot be overstated. Countries could have anywhere from 20 to 100 power stations, typically powered by coal or gas—both of which have detrimental impacts on the planet.

It is an existential global threat that requires a significant reduction in carbon emissions. So, transitioning to clean energy is no longer an option; it is now an urgent imperative as the planet demands immediate action.

The time for action is now, and the stakes are high. Every decision made today will echo for generations to come, shaping the destiny of our planet. The world owes it to itself, to future generations, and to the countless species that share this planet to rise above and act to address climate change.

With that, the transition to renewable energy is also no longer a distant prospect; it is a crucial step to take. Embracing renewable energy technologies holds promise not only in combating climate change but also in economic growth and innovation.

From harnessing solar energy to tapping into wind power, the many renewable energy options present vast opportunities for sustainable development. It empowers communities to participate in decentralised energy production and rectifies inequities in the current energy systems.

Amongst those leading the charge in this shift to renewables is Gentrack, a force in energy retail technology. “We're passionate. We live and breathe energy and water. We live and breathe saving the planet,” stressed Geoff Childs, Gentrack’s General Manager for Asia.

Asian Power had the opportunity to talk to Gentrack to discuss the latest trends and innovations shaping the energy sector, gaining valuable insights into the company's vision and its role in driving sustainable solutions for the future.

What is the secret of Gentrack's success?

Gentrack, with over 35 years of specialisation in energy and water retail, brings unparalleled expertise and insight to its solutions. It is a pioneer in mission-critical energy retail technology, equipping retailers with the tools to navigate this changing landscape.

The company focuses solely on utilities, which allows it to better understand the unique challenges and requirements of these sectors. Unlike other solutions that have been dominating the market for the past decades with generic solutions, like SAP and Oracle, Gentrack's technology is tailored specifically for the needs of utilities dealing with electricity, gas, and water management.

Gentrack's technology boasts an impressive 80% out-of-the-box functionality tailored to meet the diverse needs of utility providers. The remaining 5% to 15% of these features are tailored to specific countries, whilst 5% to 10% cater to individual customer needs.

This streamlined approach translates to substantial cost savings and a significantly faster implementation timeline.

Gentrack's technology also empowers utility companies to drive innovation and launch new products and promotions swiftly. With a low-code, no-code approach, billing teams can integrate new offerings within minutes to days, depending on complexity. In contrast, legacy systems not designed for innovation often need lengthy customisations and the need for new code to be introduced by system integrators, consuming both time and resources.

Furthermore, from legacy meters bringing data once a month to once a year, today’s smart meters can ping data as quickly as once every five minutes. With this huge shift in data, utilities require effective data management.

Gentrack’s technology is capable of supporting the increasing complexity and volume of data that is generated by these advancements. It can process and manage large volumes of data in real-time. This way, homeowners and businesses also receive data immediately and are given the information they need on how they are using their energy, where their energy is coming from, and what they can do to be more efficient.

“Prosumers (consumers that also produce energy) are becoming more proactive in engaging with their energy solar panels, battery or electric vehicle. Our technology supports this”, said Childs.

As markets shift towards renewable energy sources and decentralised energy systems, Gentrack's specialised solutions are in high demand. Utilities need to adapt quickly to changing regulations, and Gentrack provides the technology to support this rapid adaptation. 

Traditional solutions struggle to keep up with the technological advancements and data requirements of the energy industry. Gentrack's technology offers a modern alternative that is better suited to the current and future needs of utilities.

Gentrack's meteoric rise—a staggering 700% growth in just four years—speaks volumes about its unique approach. It also serves as a testament to the company’s core values: “respect for each other, respect for our customers, and respect for our planet.”

Notably, Gentrack also has a flawless record of 100% transformation success, instilling confidence in utility providers that they are in capable hands. With Gentrack at the helm, utilities can navigate the complexities of the modern landscape with ease, driving efficiency, innovation, and ultimately success.

The unveiling of Gentrack's latest offering, Gentrack g2.0, marks a significant milestone in utility technology. Integrated with Salesforce CRM, the leading CRM platform, and hosted on AWS cloud, the premier cloud infrastructure, Gentrack g2.0 harnesses the power of industry-leading technologies.

By integrating with Salesforce, users can now manage the entire utility lifecycle within a single interface, whilst also leveraging the AI capabilities of Salesforce CRM and Gentrack's own AI and machine learning solutions.

The future for energy providers

Demand for electricity continues to rise, yet intermittent renewable sources create challenges. Tackling these complex concerns whilst achieving Net Zero emissions is a defining challenge for the current generation. In this pivotal time, utility companies find themselves at the centre of this transformation.

Governments across Asia are sprinting towards green energy goals, each setting ambitious Net Zero targets. With this, coal- and gas-fired power plants are being replaced with large-scale industrial-size renewable energy. Amidst this transition comes the rise of off- and onshore wind farms, off- and onshore solar farms, and hydro plants, amongst others.

Utility companies are also expected to upgrade their software in the next decade. They are bound to embrace technological innovation to keep up with these advancements. Evidently, experts predict a rise in technology transformations amongst 200 of the world’s top utilities by 2025.

According to Childs, over the last 10 years, the world has doubled the amount of renewable energy that it can generate. This may seem like a big stride forward at first but Childs highlighted that  due to our expanding global population and advancing economies the world’s electricity usage has also doubled.

“It doesn't look like it's going to be enough to build all this large-scale industrial renewable energy...We're not getting very far,” he said.

Energy suppliers have come to the realisation that Net Zero cannot be reached by simply replacing old fossil fuel capacity with renewables and large-scale generation. Instead, energy companies can make use of millions of other assets through homes and businesses’ roof space.

At the heart of hitting Net Zero lies a crucial task for energy retailers: changing consumer behaviour. By leveraging innovative technology, they can empower consumers to participate in the energy transition, shifting how they use and manage energy.

“If we're going to win this fight as people's energy is doubled, as well as the renewable energies doubled, we've got to change consumer behaviour,” Childs said. “So who owns the customer relationship? The energy companies own the consumer relationship, to an area that they're in a position to help change, motivate, and get people to shift and become more energy efficient.”

Amidst the ongoing call for cleaner energy, consumers worldwide have been adopting technologies such as solar PV, battery storage, heat pumps, and electric vehicles, and this trend is only set to pick up pace.

For Childs, encouraging the shift to cleaner energy options in Asia has to start with the government, especially since many energy companies in the region are government-owned.

He further illustrated: “The technological transformation is instrumental to achieve Net Zero by 2050 and we need all the governments in Asia to support this and set regulatory frameworks that favours renewable energies. I think it's important.”

Energy retailers can provide a Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) and establish new revenue streams. Meanwhile, many governments can offer subsidies to customers who are investing in clean tech.

Whilst support from the private sector is welcome in the transition, it is through regulatory frameworks that incentivise the generation of renewable energy that make it worthwhile for consumers. Through such frameworks, consumers can even get paid if they put solar energy into the grid for their energy production.

Accelerating progress by embracing potential solutions

To further stress the potential of renewable energy in Asia, Childs put forward Australia as an example of a country that was able to fulfil its energy needs with the help of rooftop solar panels. Being one of the leading energy markets in the world, Australia is predicting to get over 50% in the next few years of its energy from renewables, mainly rooftop solar, according to data from Gentrack.

Building on this point, Childs noted that Malaysia could enjoy similar benefits. Per Gentrack, 75% of Malaysia’s total energy requirements could be generated if there were solar panels installed on every single roof space in the country.

Childs acknowledged that the shift would not be a quick and easy feat, especially with the amount of time it takes to conduct planning, permissions, and large-scale construction, amongst others. However, he remains optimistic about the potential of a similar framework in other parts of Asia.

“They could shut down all of their coal-fired and gas-fired power plants if they just put solar panels on every single roof in the country. It's not that easy, don’t get me wrong. It'll take you probably five to seven years,” he said.

Given what has already been achieved in Australia, Childs believes this move could help propel the shift to clean energy and help meet governments’ Net Zero goals by 2050.

Green initiatives taken by Gentrack customers

Gentrack has been introducing world-leading technology to enable innovative Distributed Energy Management (DEM) business models. This enables decentralised production and storage of energy, smart consumption, and digital experiences.

The company’s DEM ecosystem empowers energy suppliers to seamlessly and fully integrate with multiple partners, allowing them the flexibility to collaborate with those suited to their needs, resulting in faster time-to-market, enhanced customer relationship management, and reduced customer churn.

The company takes pride in serving the majority of its customers within some of the most mature energy markets globally, such as Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. “We have some customers that are living in the future,” noted Childs. These companies include EnergyAustralia and Amber.

EnergyAustralia's Solar Home Bundle

A prominent player in the Australian energy market, EnergyAustraila unveiled its Solar Home Bundle initiative in mid-2022, offering tier-one rooftop solar panels to Australians. This signalled a disruptive shift towards renewable energy adoption, allowing customers to embrace renewable energy solutions without the initial financial burden as the solar and battery are provided to homeowners with no upfront investment and a flat fee over a 7-year energy plan.

Amber’s Customer-Centric Approach

Meanwhile, technology company and energy retailer Amber prioritised customer-centricity in its approach to the renewable energy transition. This is done through real-time wholesale electricity pricing, smart home automation, selling excess renewable energy to the grid, and maximising the value of household batteries and electric vehicles.

Shaping a Sustainable Future through Innovation and Collaboration

EnergyAustralia and Amber are two examples of Energy Retail companies with innovative offerings in the new era of energy providers. Empowered by Gentrack, they are changing the traditional business model of energy and finding different ways to market renewable energy.   

Gentrack is not just leading a future powered by clean energy; it is building a movement and inspiring individuals and companies to join the fight for a healthy, sustainable planet. Environmental stewardship is embedded in it, from technology choices to business practices.

However, the fight against climate change demands collaboration, innovation, and determination. Embrace the power of the future: invest in renewable energy today and secure a cleaner, healthier tomorrow.

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