Energy Exemplar’s simulation software guides global energy markets at a time of transition

8 June 2022

Energy Exemplar’s technology can help predict and understand global energy issues in real time – a powerful capability at a time when many economies are transitioning to a clean energy future.

The South Australian company turned to Austrade to take its technology global. The agency has introduced Energy Exemplar to senior decision-makers at energy companies, major banks and government from Latin America to Asia and Europe.

Over the last several years the company has averaged year-on-year growth of 30%.

When CEO David Wilson reflects on the last five years of Energy Exemplar’s journey, he says he would do one thing differently.

‘If I knew then what I know now, I would have leaned into Austrade even harder at the start. For us it’s been a very successful relationship and one I hope to continue into the future.’

A crystal ball to look into the energy future

Adelaide-based Energy Exemplar builds simulations for energy networks. Wilson describes the software as ‘a crystal ball for energy markets’.

The simulations show how energy networks and markets are operating. By modelling supply and demand scenarios, they can help drive market efficiencies. As markets transition to new energy technologies, the simulations are increasingly also being used to forecast how changes may affect market dynamics.

‘We have a globally applicable solution that can solve real-world problems better than any other tool,’ says Wilson.

Austrade opens doors to senior decision-makers

Energy Exemplar’s win at South Australia’s 2022 Impact Awards highlights its status as a homegrown success story. It has more than 300 employees across 11 offices, supporting clients in nearly 70 countries. Its clients include energy producers, national and commercial utility companies, energy market operators, policymakers, regulators, investors, and development banks.

Go back five years, however, and its team of 55 was mainly marketing to energy market analysts.

‘Our solutions became bigger, and we started offering a much broader suite of solutions,’ says Wilson. ‘We needed to connect with the C-suite, vice presidents and general managers.’

As a small team with a highly technical product, getting in front of the people it needed to reach could be a challenge. This was especially so when Energy Exemplar started exporting its technology.

‘Austrade can make introductions at a higher level than we would be able to by ourselves,’ says Wilson. ‘And they’ve been able to do that at pace.

‘For example, we could go to Austrade with 20 organisations we think we should be talking to in a new market. They already have many of those relationships, and they could get on the phone with the others and very quickly facilitate meetings.’

Thanks to Austrade’s help, Energy Exemplar achieved an important sale to PowerChina Huadong Engineering Corporation.

Finding a global audience in a time of transition

Changing times are certainly adding to the sense of urgency the company feels.

‘We’re right at that focal point of the energy transition,’ says Wilson. ‘Moving to net zero is one of the most complicated challenges and biggest capital deployments in the history of humankind. Investors are looking for tools to guide critical investment decisions.’

Energy Exemplar is now partnering with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to help plan energy supplies in a dynamic environment. For example, it can help forecast where a new solar farm would be most effective. Or understand how energy needs and supplies are being affected by emerging geopolitical events.

The expanding opportunities haven’t been without challenges.

‘The market and needs are growing so fast,’ says Wilson. ‘We’re trying to interact with and serve as many clients as possible. Having the support of Austrade to do that has been fantastic.’

On-the-ground support helps strengthen customer relationships

Wilson notes being able to lean into Austrade’s in-market capability has been great.

‘The support of the teams on the ground, who are native speakers with local relationships, has been really impactful,’ he says.

Senior Vice President and Head of APAC, Stuart Kelly, agrees on the importance of Austrade’s in-country support.

‘We are very respectful of cultural nuances in the markets we’re working in,’ he says. ‘But sometimes, with their eyes and ears on the ground, Austrade can spot an issue and give us guidance on things we should be thinking of in how we serve our customers.’

That support is helping maintain strong customer relationships, such as with Taiwan’s national power company, Taipower.

‘With COVID-19 border closures, we weren’t able to travel and forge relationships with customers. It was great for us to be able to leverage Austrade’s local contacts and relationships to help support our online interactions.’

Go further, faster with Austrade

Go to Austrade export services to learn the basics, find the right markets and understand market requirements.