Smart Energy Voices- Episode 41

Smart Energy Voices- Episode 41

More Than Just Solar: The Evolving Clean Energy Needs of Large Power Users, with Raphael Declercq

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In this episode of Smart Energy Voices, produced in partnership with EDF Renewables, host John Failla is joined by Raphael Declercq, Executive Vice President, Distributed Solutions & Strategy at EDF Renewables North America. Raphael has been working with EDF for 12 years, with a background in consulting and banking. Since mid-2010, his role has been to build an offering for C&I customers and other entities looking for distributed solutions. Listen as they discuss the changing needs of large electric power users and how EDF is evolving in response to those needs.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • EDF’s global footprint [03:37]
  • The evolving needs of recent times [08:44]
  • How is EDF responding to current needs? [13:21]
  • Powerflex’s solar component [18:53]
  • Storage’s role in Powerflex [22:29]
  • EV charging in the Powerflex model [28:04]
  • The essential software providing solutions [33:00]
  • Microgrid projects [38:12]
  • How can we be successful in the future? [40:50]
EDF’s worldwide scope

EDF Renewables is one of the largest producers of electricity globally, operating the largest transmission and distribution networks in Europe. As a developer and operator of renewable projects, EDF is an integrated energy player and is listed on the Paris Stock Exchange. Present in 22 countries, EDF is growing in North America, starting with wind and diversifying in solar and storage. They’ve been very active in helping the US transform the energy industry by providing those projects. Historically the company mainly provided  those projects to load-serving entities and utilities in particular. But in 2010, they started to see demand come directly from end-users as those entities were looking for solutions closer to home.

Distributed energy via Powerflex

EDF has been working on storage for years, with 40-megawatt hours that are in construction or already operating, primarily in California. Even as they are seeing an increased relevance for this technology, a new question has come up recently. Customers who already have a meter system for solar are asking why they should bother adding more investment for storage.  The answer is that the regulations are going to evolve. The direction the regulators are going to take will be to encourage storage, increasing the effectiveness of solar.

C&I customers are maturing in their approach to solve self-imposed challenges on the ESG side. EDF is gathering all the distributed energy that is dedicated to C&I customers onsite under the Powerflex brand. Powerflex provides a one-stop shop for solar, storage, and smart EV charging needs. EDF has developed an energy management system (EMS) that orchestrates those different pieces, allowing customers to maximize their savings while meeting their ESG goals.

Coordinating Technologies

EDF has created a unique platform that allows customers to pick from multiple models and plug them into a common core. These options will enable customers to maximize savings and the consumption of solar with different assets. The integrated EMS that EDF has invested in allows various assets to be coordinated. It maximizes the availability of kilowatts in the system without going through expensive, lengthy upgrades of transformers and equipment. It also allows EV owners to plug in, enter information into an app, and schedule energy consumption in a way that avoids creating energy peaks. That avoidance of peaks is essential for the energy bill and the grid. The same software can maximize how batteries are used to prevent peaks due to the profile of solar. Projecting further in the decade, having hundreds of assets operating in a coordinated way will allow grid operators to be served with more flexible grid services.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Raphael Declercq

Raphael leads the Distributed Solutions business unit of EDF Renewables North America and works with the President & Chief Executive Officer to craft and implement the Strategy of EDF Renewables. 

Raphael has responsibility over the teams and legal entities conducting activities at the distribution level. Through a combination of acquisitions and internal growth, Raphael had a leading role in building the commercial solar, storage, and smart Electric Vehicle charging business of EDF Renewables. He now oversees the operations of this fast-growing part of our business.  In his strategy role, he has a focus on identifying growth opportunities for EDF Renewables businesses in North America.

Prior to transferring to North America in 2011, Raphael worked for EDF Renouvelables in Paris as Deputy Executive Advisor. In North America, Raphael initially focused on divestitures and merger & acquisitions. Earlier in his career, Raphael was a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he primarily focused on the energy and heavy industry sectors. Raphael holds Masters in Management from HEC Paris business school and CEMS (Community of European Management Schools).


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