Making Sense of Shell’s New Energies Business: Smart Home Offerings Now on the Menu
On this week’s Interchange podcast: We talk with Brian Davis, Shell’s VP of energy solutions, about the supermajor’s plans for the future.
Global energy giants have been on a distributed energy acquisition spree over the last few years. With the formation of its New Energies unit in 2016, Shell is leading the oil and gas majors in investment and vision.
Shell New Energies plans to invest up to $2 billion dollars in renewables, microgrids, batteries, electric vehicle charging, and other emerging tech every year. That number is just a tiny sliver of Shell’s fossil fuel and chemical businesses, but it’s enough money to start rearranging the competitive landscape for clean electrification.
Most recently, the company acquired sonnen, a leading behind-the-meter battery company, and First Utility, a U.K. retail supplier and smart home service provider. Shell is developing smart home offerings through both companies.
This week, Brian Davis, the VP of energy solutions at Shell, joins us to discuss the company’s strategy.
His job: to help reshape the strategy of Shell and build up new businesses around biofuels and electrification. What does the New Energies strategy tell us about where Shell thinks the world is headed?
We’ll cover the following topics:
- Shell’s acquisitions over the past two years: Why those companies? How do we fit those puzzle pieces together?
- To what degree do they optimize for near-term profit vs. land-grabs in key areas?
- How will Shell integrate all these businesses, both strategically and culturally?
- What are the biggest risks to Shell’s strategy?
- What’s the long-term profitability of the new energies business? How does it become more profitable?
- Will all supermajors eventually follow in Shell’s footsteps?
The most recent acquisition of First Utility provides snapshot of Shell’s customer strategy:
“We’re offering a suite of smart home solutions, starting from smart thermostats that control your heating remotely. And then clearly over time we can offer an electric vehicle charger…we can come in and offer the benefits of energy storage if you have onsite solar. So we’re offering all of that as packages to meet the needs of our customers under the Shell brand in the U.K.,” says Davis.