The energy system is changing.  Renewable generation.  Home batteries.  Electric vehicles.  Heat pumps.  A host of new technologies distributed across homes, businesses and communities is changing the way energy is generated, distributed and consumed.

This offers tremendous scope to reduce emissions, to create new value for people, to give people and communities enhanced control.  But it also creates new complexity and uncertainty.

I help people navigate this complexity.  I help them identify opportunities and risks, develop frameworks to think about business and technology models, and then to set up and deliver projects that create value in this new world of distributed, local energy.

Graham Oakes

I am a systems engineer with 35 years experience working with organisations such as Cisco, Greenpeace, Intel, Oxfam, Practical Action, Skype, Sony, and Vodafone to develop high tech products.  This experience enabled me to create the idea for Upside Energy and to grow it to 35 people.  That in turn has given me deep insight into the energy system and the challenges it faces as it decarbonises and becomes more distributed and people-centred.

I hold a degree in Geophysics from the University of Queensland and a PhD from Imperial College, London.  I am a Fellow of the British Computer Society and a Chartered Engineer.  My book Project Reviews, Assurance and Governance is published by Gower.

Upside Energy Ltd

Upside has built a technology platform that manages large numbers of distributed energy assets – batteries, electric vehicles, heat pumps, hot water tanks, smart appliances, etc.  It uses smart algorithms and artificial intelligence to aggregate and coordinate these assets, so enabling people to participate in the new energy system.  By flexing their demand to match energy supply, they can reduce energy costs and earn additional revenue from suppliers and system operators.

I created the idea for Upside in August 2013, in response to a challenge prize run by Nesta and sponsored by National Grid.  As a result of the challenge prize, we won entry into the EU Climate-KIC acceleration programme and initial grant funding from Innovate UK, so I founded the company in early 2015.  Over the next four years, I led Upside as it raised over £3m of grant funding and £6.7m of equity finance, and grew to a company of 35 staff.

I left Upside in December 2018 in order to focus on helping people and communities to benefit from the new energy system that technologies like Upside’s is creating.

My Services

I am available to provide consulting on local, community and municipal energy.  This might include:

  • Developing new business and governance models
  • Supporting technology and business innovation
  • Defining strategy
  • Setting up and steering projects
  • Mentoring and advising executives and managers

I am more than happy to work flexibly and on novel ideas and propositions.  Please contact me to discuss more.