Data platform for microgrid projects
with Emily McAteer and Eitan Hochster (Odyssey Energy Solutions)

In this episode, we speak with Emily McAteer, CEO and Cofounder at Odyssey Energy Solutions and Eitan Hochster, VP of Business Development. Odyssey is a web-based platform that is facilitating rapid deployment of microgrids in emerging markets. Their data platform manages how mini-grid data is analyzed and communicated via software tools, data analytics and marketplaces, enabling mini-grid project developers to connect with investors, suppliers, donors and other market stakeholders.

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Show notes and related resources

Odyssey Energy Solutions: company website

Podcast Summary

We discuss:

  • The need for standardisation of microgrid data for financing and operational purposes

  • Their work with the Rural Electrification Agency in Nigeria

  • Changes in the financing sector, and in particular Results Based Financing

  • Why aggregating and standardising minigrid data is necessary to accelerate the deployment of minigrid solutions in emerging markets

Show notes:

(2:00) Introduction to Odyssey Energy Solutions, their software platform focused on expanding access and financing into the minigrid sector. How the different stakeholders use their platform

(5:30) Their engagement with government organisations, e.g. REA; funds e.g. CBEA (CrossBoundary Energy Access). Types of data they work with, e.g. CRMs, customer management systems, smart meters, inverters. The difficulty of investing in large numbers of minigrids due to the smaller size and vast amounts of data

(10:30) Their approach to standardising minigrid data; their work with AMDA

(17:00) The potential for Machine Learning in improving their forecasting and accuracy of their data models; meeting the need for asset owners and asset management

(22:30) How Odyssey interacts with financing and how it encourages and supports financing into minigrids

(26:00) Discussion on Results Based Financing, and how Odyssey works with RBF; strong signs of success in Nigeria

(32:00) Emergence of project finance in minigrids

(33:30) Odyssey's work on COVID19 with Cross Boundary; looking at consumer demand changes and electrification of health facilities

(36:30) Eitan's and Emily's background and how they came into the energy access sector

(39:00) The challenges of building Odyssey: trying to build a product for a future market

(43:00) Their work with NEP (Nigerian Electrification Program)

(44:00) Odyssey's financiers: FACTOR[e] and Shell Foundation

(49:00) Where the name Odyssey comes from

(49:30) Advice to new entrepreneurs in the energy sector

(51:00) Predictions for the next 5 years: more business innovation, greater scale in the off-grid sector, mixing between SHS and mini-grids, maturing of project finance available.