From day one he was very welcoming. And he's been producing magic ever since. He's very quick and.. he's a jewel to be honest.
He has integrated I think it's like five different vendor APIs into different equipment. He has been taking care of the whole stack; from migrating over from one platform to another & made everything streamlined.
Fredrik Andersson (Co-Founder & CTO of TGN Energy) joins us for an in-depth discussion on renewable energy technology, next-generation hiring & more.
Magnus: So Fredrik, it's a pleasure & honor that you decided to come and answer a few questions about how TGN is meeting the green shift; one of the biggest challenges of the Norwegian society. Of course are huge dependence on oil and gas and it requires startup and scale-up expertise to really make the right changes that are very difficult for others like the government for example to pull through at this time. So I have a few questions regarding your business. TGN is meeting the green shift and people have a very hard time understanding how technology and green energy go together. Could you please explain what your company does exactly?
What does your company do?
Fredrik: Our company is definitely supporting the green shift because when you are interfacing renewable energy such as solar panels and wind turbines into the grid, you are also imposing a problem and you are actually shifting out something that is called a rotating mass. That is old coal plants, oil plants and also nuclear power plants that have this rotating mass and you're pulling in some inverter-based energy sources and that energy source is that it's inverter-based, it's very intermittent. It's based on solar and wind that is very, impossible to control really and that means that you need to have some sort of virtual inertia or a virtual rotating mass in your energy system and that can be for that you can use for instance batteries or other sources. The benefits with batteries is that it's very fast so when you have a typical imbalance in the grid frequency you can utilize batteries placed all over basically and these batteries respond immediately to a frequency drop and that is actually a market called a fast frequency response FFR and FCR frequency containment reserves. It has many names and currently the value of these reserve markets are very high so that means that it's very beneficial for an investor to realize battery products. That was the start of what TGN is actually doing. We are pulling out projects and control systems that is doing the whole value chain from the market basically down to the specific battery but also instead of building new grids or reinforcement of grids new net stations and stuff like that by deploying batteries you can better utilize the existing grid and for instance if you're going on the highway between Drammen and Oslo at seven o'clock at nine o'clock in the morning it's totally traffic jam. What if we see these cars as electrons, and instead of everybody going between seven and nine you can distribute the same amount of cars throughout the 24 hours throughout the whole day then you would most likely see less queues and you can also increase the flow through that time period which is very beneficial for the society and for you and me as a taxpayer.
Magnus: So there's many different problems that you guys are tackling. One of them is that wind power and solar power it's very hard to get energy from them because the sun doesn't always shine when you want it to and the wind doesn't always blow when you want it to but we always need power and sometimes we need more power and it's just wind or solar doesn't provide that when we need it and this is why of course fossil fuels have been used for so long because it's very stable you just you burn it and then you get the energy and you burn it when you need the energy. So by having this battery solution you guys store the energy so that you can use it whenever wherever and you mentioned that the traditional grid power that we're using right now that we spend billions on is becoming a very inefficient way of getting of using our taxpayer dollars and you guys have a new solution that now that makes it so that anyone can utilize these batteries and eventually they'll be more local right so that it's like anyone can use the batteries and produce power with their solar panels to those batteries as a consumer who now is a provider of electricity. So is this method are we going to see a rollout of a lot of batteries in Norway with TGN Energy?
Fredrik: Yes I must also emphasize that this is it is the market is tremendous and there is of course companies other companies doing exactly the same thing in other countries so it's not a unique thing but I must say that the companies that exist today doing virtual power plant and energy management systems together with the batteries and renewable energy there is so much high volumes so the competition is not really that high anyway we always it's something for everybody to be honest so but these unique solutions not unique solutions these solutions has or is the solution for the 1.6 degree target to roll out as much as renewable power as possible and support it by energy storage solutions and also to reduce the e-mobility use sorry the mobility used by fossil fuels trucks charger sorry trucks and cars using gasoline to introduce electric vehicles instead such as trucks and long-haul trucks and when you do that you also introduce a new problem where are these sources going to charge and that are going to introduce new requirements for our solutions so if you have companies throughout all distributed Norway on islands and such the grid on those islands and on those places are not particularly reinforced to tackle these challenges but if you introduce battery sources and local solar energy production you are able to still compete with other people that do have the possibilities to introduce e-charging but so this is simply it is an enabler but in some cases it's just the only way for them to survive because the competition in the end is going to have if you if you have the two CNI industries producing the same product and then you have one product sorry one company that can that can give charging at their end and the other company cannot the contracts are in the end going to be awarded where you can actually charge or where you can actually utilize e-transport.
Magnus: You're talking about e-transport now.. so for a lot of people in Norway will know that Norway is a very green country when it comes to electricity production we have 99 percent coming from hydropower. And that in itself has been used as a battery why do we care about TGN energy when Norway has so much green electricity production already?
Fredrik: Because you can't use that electricity everywhere you can use it if you live next to a power plant but not everybody do that and not everybody has that opportunity for instance for us in Oslo living in the main capital we have limited resources or limited electric highway waste or the grid is limited towards our capital so we can't just deploy wherever we want to however if you live in a in a community where you live close by to the some hydropower plants you you have the you might have the luxury to do that but that's very geographical.
Magnus: So you're saying that there's a lot of waste from one hydropower plant in the middle of Norway to Oslo. How much electricity is wasted from the energy transfer is that the point you're making?
Fredrik: No, not really. the the transmission is very efficient but it means that the capacity needed at any given time is higher now in Oslo than it was 10-15 years ago because we didn't have any industries we didn't have any places to charge big huge trucks long-haul trucks and all these kind of new cars. it's like 100-200,000 Tesla's running around. that was not really how they planned the grid 30 or 40 years ago so that is the problem so that is what I'm talking about the capacity. So we have a limited amount of hydropower that we can continue to mine in Norway.
Magnus: Right and you're saying that the capacity with all these thousands and thousands of electric cars coming in everything is becoming electrical there's a much bigger need much higher capacity for Norway to continue having this green electricity production if it is going to actually become an electrified state?
Fredrik: Yeah it's estimated that in 2030 if we also electrify the whole Norwegian continental shelf that means all the offshore installations we are going to be a net importer of electricity. Today we are an exporter however we also import energy from time to time from our countries where we are connected to that's why we have these continental cables that are running to Denmark and to England for instance or to the UK. So sorry, please repeat the question.
Magnus: So basically how much more electricity will Norway be needing in the next couple of years and how is TGN going to provide that extra capacity?
Fredrik: The extra capacity I have is one example. Right now I have one customer that has a recycling plant of electronic waste and they are almost maxed out of the power that they can actually take into their factory. So what are the possibilities for them to expand their business to grow or to recycle more other goods for instance batteries in the future? How can they do that if they are maxed out today? Okay they can put some solar panels on the roof that's good however the days when the sun is not shining or when the local transformer station is close to maxed out they need to be able to charge their batteries during the night for instance in order to continue and expand the business because of the increasing capacity that they actually get by installing extra batteries locally on the on the industry itself.
Magnus: So for this customer if TGN Energy didn't exist and there's a lot of these people that you're working with that are doing a great job in providing electricity to our nation so what would the consequence for them be if TGN didn't exist what would they do instead?
Fredrik: The thing is that the technology that we are rolling out that many other people are rolling out is that the analogy could actually be the smartphone. If Apple wouldn't be doing the first iPhone you probably have seen some new evolutions from the blackberries or other makers so there is definitely the whole industry the whole world is pushing for these solutions and they are renowned so if there would not be any TGN hopefully there would be other solutions from other vendors similar to TGN that could help them but if there were no batteries and there were no battery industry this company would definitely have a problem and they would probably need to establish a new company or new industry building somewhere else maybe in another country or in another region where they actually have access to power.
Magnus: Right, so TGN is basically providing the extra energy source that's required for Norway to remove itself from the fossil fuel and gas dependence such as within transport or other industry and therefore TGN is providing that great transition that is needed for battery storage that's connected to wind power, solar power etc?
Fredrik: Yes we are part of that solution that's correct.
Magnus: So when TGN is going to you know what are I would like to hear some of your ambitious plans here so energy production now and energy production in let's say one year two years and how is TGN meeting that need for the different nations for example you're in Spain and Norway right now?
Fredrik: The thing is that in Spain we are establishing our new office in Spain. Spain is a country that is typically having blackouts from time to time. In Norway we only see blackouts when there are storms and bad really bad weather however in Spain you have blackouts and you're kind of accepting that that is because the grid is not built and the processes around it is not very sophisticated compared to what we have in Norway. So the grid in Norway and in Scandinavia is very good I must say that and we have processes and the operation philosophies to maintain this but for instance in Spain it's a lot of sun and they definitely have a lot of coal and gas plants. They want to phase out that and it goes very rapidly so everybody's investing in PV parks, huge PV parks and the PV park is a photovoltaic solar cell park. But the problem is that you have so much ingress of power when the sun is up and then you have so much difference. The volatility is very big between of course day and night and also in between when weather is changing. So the government has now started to say that okay in order for us to keep control of the whole national grid we need to make sure that 20 percent of that power that you the capacity that you're installing on solar panels has to be batteries and that opens a huge amount of batteries that is going to be deployed in southern or at least in Spain and also other countries and this is just because you need that balance and that balance is controlled by market and pricing signals that investors really look into because they can get some money out of it and right now for instance Sweden it's very high you would call it a super profit market right now because they're closing down nuclear power plants and they're also trading out some old oil plants and of course the power from Germany is shifting now from coal and oil and we go over to renewable and it has been an enormous need for battery support and that battery support is that is the need for that is explained by market signals and the market signals is the one of them is TGN and of course there is others as well picking up on that to be able to provide the virtual power plant solutions for the customers that is in need in for instance Sweden.
Magnus: So for example the thing is the focus of the major government players all around the world has been invest in renewable energy so anything that is green or has solar power attached to it right clearly that is very easily understood this is what we need more of and this is what Spain has done as you described and then the problem was that because the sun only shines when the sun chooses to shine not in the night and the wind only blows when the wind blows and not when you want it to how do you provide the power when people need it at the key at the max points of energy demand? And I think the hard thing to understand is that this becomes a very DIGGITal solution it's a huge optimization problem and it requires an extensive understanding of energy systems. So how are you bringing together the DIGGITal aspect of this so that countries like Spain can have a much better flow of power from renewable sources?
Fredrik: Yeah and then I think I have to start at the bottom because energy systems are built up that you have a producer of energy and you have a consumer of energy and you have to every second the consumption has to be equal to the production and that is what's maintaining our 50 hertz right 50 hertz is the number of the frequency that we have in the grid so if there's a shift in balance let's say that you have more production then actually the frequency is going to go up so we have a frequency band that we need to work within and if this band is like if you're jumping outside the band you will start some of the critical mechanisms that is actually holding our electrical grid together and that is a mechanism we call insurances that you buy that typically the stock network which is the TSO the transmission line provider and operator and they are buying these services nationally to maintain their main target and that is to keep 50 hertz in the grid that is done in all countries or all European northern European countries so let's say there is a shift in demand and the frequency goes down then a lot of things is going to happen autonomously and that is the engagement of for instance batteries and engagement of let's say big circuit breakers is opening up in order to reduce their consumption to save the grid so yeah we can call it a grid saver these say they're opening the circuit breakers in order to establish the frequency back again and these volumes of sorry these kind of automatic solutions are bought up in markets it could be the markets could be a typically stock exchange market market and stock exchange market in the 1970s was very manual stock exchange market today is very optimized algorithms and reinforced learning and learning mechanisms and AI and all that and this is what we see in the electrical revolution that is happening right now instead of having people buying these resources and volumes there's actually automatically algorithms working up in the cloud engaging disengaging arming unarming different assets and when I say call an asset as it is typically a battery container or a big load somewhere let's say a big melting plant if you can stop that melting plant for 30 seconds you will get a lot of money we will save a lot of money so these pricing mechanisms is what is controlling the assets and that's and behind us in order for all these things to work you need to have as I say it is a huge optimization problem so you have optimization things that is happening on the low end next to the batteries and also up on the cloud in order between different sites and between different yeah between different what can I say yeah between different sites.
Magnus: Yes so you're essentially you're removing the fact okay before we had to kind of predict when wind would come and then utilize wind power accordingly obviously that doesn't work because it's a very it's an incredibly difficult prediction we haven't figured out how to predict wind without the optimization part that you're doing and providing this this battery that you can just get the electricity from whenever you need it's not possible to visualize Norway as a nation or provide green power to Norway as a nation because that optimization problem is absolutely essential to get right is that right?
FredriK: Yeah this is one of the main issues that the TSO the national grid is working out now how if there is how can we work cross-border because all our grids are interconnected so this optimization problem it is probably going to go work very well when everybody's releasing their private AIs just for a while for controlling grids but we need to have a kill switch and we need to have some certain rules in order to not make overshoots and things to come in making a bad let's say harmonic oscillations and all that so for now we are working with neural networks on how to do the best trading basically based on the different market signals so where before I started this business I thought okay we can have local AIs doing arbitrage trading peach shaving and all that but then quite quickly we came up with we saw that the markets the market signals is the best way to in order to provide a society benefits because the market values are going to tap into the pain points where the resources is actually needed. What do you mean by market signal? The market signal is typically there is a need for certain insurances let's say that you have a hydro plant producing a lot of electricity and then you have something let's say a big consumer let's say an aluminum melting plant so these two are working in close and it's balanced and the melting plant is actually using so much electricity so they need to talk to the production facility the day before and say okay yeah we are going to work six hours a day we're going to produce this much energy can you please open the gates in the hydro power plant so that you can actually produce this amount of energy and they said yes okay it's cost this and they get there they are into the market and they are negotiating and they finally set on a price which is set on the new pool everything is great price is set and they buy this however if they suddenly have a problem in that hydro power plant but the the plants where you actually make aluminum let's say you have a some stop or a manufacturing stop that means that the people that is actually producing power suddenly is producing for nobody and that creates an imbalance so in order for that you need to look at the risks of if these events happen then you need to be able to absorb the energy somewhere right or it could be the other way around it can be that you suddenly lose the power plant the hydro power plant so you don't have enough production then you need to then you need to go the other way around that they are actually producing aluminum but they don't have power so you have a shifting frequency to the lower part it goes down from 52 to 49 and and these things are called this is like a second market then you need to check the risks of these events is going to happen and then you need to buy up insurances like a volume of megawatt or megawatt hours that might be ready to absorb or ready to give out energy so this is the same thing this is working exactly the same thing for PV plants if we stop all the hydropower plants in the world and we base ourselves that tomorrow we are going to produce x amount of solar energy and we don't get that we need to use these resources these reserves and then we are coming into something called reserve power market and reserve power market is a market where you are you are putting your batteries into dispose into this they're disposable into the market through a bidding and then you get money back right okay so it means that if I win a few hours what is happening then is that I'm standing like this and I'm looking at the frequency and if the frequency is dropped I'm dispatching power immediately if it doesn't happen then it's good I get paid anyway so it's kind of like an insurance policy so these insurance policies that is open markets and these open markets is like it's five or six or seven different markets which has different pricing signals and they are shifting based on how much gas is coming into europe from from from middle east or these kind of things and so it has to be like an optimization algorithm what looking at all these markets and try to optimize okay where should I be and where should I bid right now in order to get the most money for my battery so that is the market signals that I'm talking about so instead of doing locally good taking good decisions locally we are looking at a market perspective where we actually utilize the bidding and the market signals in order to tell our batteries when to stand at ease or not that easy to stand ready and if something happens I'm ready to dispatch power if nothing happens I get paid anyway that's how reserved markets is working and that's today the markets that are paying most for battery assets but in the future you might also say that okay what is how much more for this is for the society is actually battery doing locally and then then you will probably see local energy markets coming in they have a new local energy market in drumming and that market is taking care of like problems within drumming because you have all these transmission cables going into different cities right that is the stock network tso's responsibilities but within a city you also have some constraints and suddenly you have one person want to build more you want to build a community 500 apartments and stuff like that but simply you don't have power and then you have this market local market markets coming in with a very complex and it's very hard to tell you in such a short time but I'm I surely want to elaborate much longer if you want to.
Magnus: I appreciate that it's a very complex topic and the thing with these complex topics you know there's this optimization problem here there's an optimization problem with the traders with the market signals with the different types of energy if you use fossil fuels it's a very different optimization problem than if you use solar power if you use wind power and if you use batteries and if you use a local grid compared to a bigger grid now when you have all these moving parts working together one of the biggest blockers that I see Norway is facing is the digitalization aspect of it. Would you say that's fair?
Fredrik: Yeah definitely data capture putting the data makes sense of it and asset management in a good way in a good reliable way and also the way of connecting all the market signals into the assets so that is purely DIGGITal.
Magnus: I think it's.. you know obviously you guys are meeting the green shift but when you see all these complexities that are kind of underneath you know it's really not appreciated for people that are you know just putting the budgets together how does digitalization and this competency crisis that Norway is having according to the the directors of the digitalization that when they're saying there's a competence crisis in digitalization and then the confidence would you would you say would you agree with that or would you think that Norway is doing okay in that area?
Fredrik: No, it's I would I don't really for me I've been so fortunate to work with people that are much much better than me and that is and the right sourcing of personnel has helped me to or has sent us to reach our goals I don't really understand or I know what the other but sourcing of personnel and sourcing what they are going to do and find the right candidates is probably the it's key for us and and we have I've been working with my network and also together with a DIGGIT to find these resources so I can't really relate to that problem but yeah I do understand that there is a big search for engineers and data engineers in general. I can't accomplish that absolutely.
Magnus: Then to just touch upon that what was your situation so you've used to get to hire but..
What situation were you in before DIGGIT?
Fredrik: No there is these platforms and these people that are doing headhunting and these kind of things but honestly for me that is like a hr filter I would say and since we are I think we are it's good to find people working in teams and that could fit teams that hr thing that you know okay he's red and that is blue and so and these kind of things but for me after covid we co-located a lot the the need for working in teams and to and all this has probably decreased a little bit for us and speed and competence in the area has been absolutely key I would I must say and for us to look at these getting I can't really find a good way today with the market channels that we that we used to you I mean that that is there today the common market channels I don't see how they can vet correctly in the way of measuring competence of what I need they can bet that okay this person is all right and that doesn't have this problem or vice versa but I can't I can't do a quality check of of of competence I can only check references basically so, yeah.
Magnus: Would you say that's the pain in the recruitment yes definitely there's just no actual verification process yeah definitely what why do you think that that is why do you think that people are okay with CVs today and that's the majority 70 to 80 percent of companies already use CVs for hiring within the space.
Fredrik: It's so established it is a short resume of what you have done you kind of get a glimpse you know how that person might behave and how that person might work in groups and and all. But there is maybe a lot of quite a few years back then people were probably writing all truth in their CVs but I think that I might there are some bias towards maybe right if you have been a part of a project you are kind of you want to sell yourself right so you you kind of increase yeah so next question..
What approaches did you try before DIGGIT?
Fredrik: Yeah I always trust my stomach feeling I always trust my network my network is I at least I think it's a it's rather big so I've used my channels and talk to people and I've seen that every approaches has been like yeah they're occupied or or happy where they are and basically I didn't have so many approaches on it's just a standard channels like a headhunting asking headhunters asking and fin.no or the market channel so I'm putting an ad out and I got I used linkedin as well I got a few people from throughout the the world that were interested that's pretty much it.
Magnus: So you posted an ad on linkedin was it was a free job ad or was it a paid one?
Fredrik: It was a paid one um, yeah.
Magnus: And how much value did you get from that would you say? Uhm, I get some value. I found some interesting personalities but still the risk and the downside is huge for me how can I know based on okay we can have a few interviews I think it's easier to go in a way than using headhunters because I can quite quickly see what I want and what I'm not what I choose to not work with. But but still there's that competency aspect; it's joke!
Magnus: here's a lot of hiring managers that will say well as long as I can see the projects that they've done on the CV then I know you know for the most part they're good and I and I will trust the candidates why would I distrust them. What would you say about that?
Fredrik: That's totally rubbish I would say yeah working in a project there is so many different fields in a project and there are so many different tasks in a project even if the product was the biggest project in Norway or whatever that role that they actually made the contribution and all it's I can't use those words to say that yeah I'm confident that this person is a good one I really can't.
Magnus: Yeah very you know that's a that's a very interesting answer it's very different from from what I've heard but it makes a lot of sense I was just and the next question how did you find the biggest.
How did you find DIGGIT?
Fredrik: It was 2019 or something like that you started a Sci-Code started as approach of teaching AI very early I would say. And I was very interested because I really wanted to see the trend try to understand it and like demystify it so I went on to those courses and of course the company I've been following you guys and I've seen that you know shifted a bit I even tried the platform myself with attending the python course and so I kind of used it and I learned but I'm not a I'm not skilled programmer in in that perspective I just wanted to know what I'm talking about what I was talking about and then then we actually started up tgm so a lot of other water no no under the bridge but then eventually you started to set up some things that you're actually betting a good programmers and giving people a second chance because I don't believe in that schools and CVs and all this is actually you need people have hobbies and they're burning for stuff to do their passion and I can't really find a passion in a CV based on education a lot of things that might have happened in their life that's okay shit this is awesome I want to be the best program in the world and they just set on to it this is that that is the people that I want to find not the one that I I just went to school doing programming and then I'm not very interested but I mean that is not the people I want to work with I want to work with like energetic people that burns for their and have a passion for what they're doing.
Magnus: Very well said I can't disagree with you there you have a very impressive background yourself right you've studied at top universities you've worked at top companies some of the biggest energy companies and the biggest you know you worked at broadnet when you know the wi-fi and the internet revolution I'm a bit surprised that you that you would say that because you yourself have a very good background in terms of education and working in the industry you have a great CV yourself.
Fredrik: Yeah, thank you but the thing is that I've learned that during my first years on my in my career I really burnt I really felt that passion and and slowly you're like pushing and moving around a little bit you kind of get to know the market but somewhere in the 30s or 35 year old you kind of you you lose the passion or it goes like a little bit like a up and down and I really miss that feeling of go waking up in the morning and just love my work but I also saw it in a long perspective I need to go down into those valleys in order to kind of appreciate what I have so I shifted around a little bit and simply gain life experience and that has taught me that the passion is still the most important thing. You can learn pretty much anything if you are passionate enough.
Magnus: That's a beautiful answer what made you decide to give to give DIGGIT a shot?
What made you decide to give DIGGIT a shot?
Fredrik: no you and you had a interesting challenge we the first thing the first time we started challenge and then I believe that the shape of DIGGIT was still a little bit exploring and I think we did that challenge and we got a few cool candidates but to be honest TGN really didn't know either we wanted to do everything and we didn't really we were also exploring so I I must say it was like a it has been like life in general trial and error so but now you came up with something that okay you are doing this vecting and then you're doing this checking the challenges in different in different categories and and also I've heard something about that there is a few candidates coming up now that has really high score and I was I you know when we when you walk with in parallel with parallel other people in your life suddenly they would get like a intersections right so it was just the perfect timing we actually needed to get some person I don't know if you contacted me or if I contacted you but I think I said that okay I need a a programmer from full stack developer do you have one oh yeah actually we have this competition right now and I have a class a score here and yeah you might want to look into it.
Magnus: And and of course you know there are developers from NAV (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration) and you know you can get the 50 percent novel pay 50 for hiring someone who is from there did you approach that channel and and if not why?
Fredrik: No that because I still don't think it is a vecting process in that no I think it's a great thing but come on NAV should go to you and and and subscribe for your services so that the people that you actually get from NAV has some kind of score or something like that but it is it is hard to be honest you don't want to discriminate people and you want everybody to have a chance but for me that is working as a single I'm self-employed I can't afford having people that doesn't have the passion or having the competence of doing what it takes so but if that changes in the future and if that's politically correct to that NAV is also doing any of these kind of services within together with DIGGIT then I would say it's fantastic.
Magnus: Right now NAV is claiming that to some extent that the industry is not being inclusive enough and they should give other people a chance. Do you think that you're not being inclusive enough?
Fredrik: Iclusive, yeah, but I'm not sorry but capitalism is very hard it's bone hard. I can't be inclusive just to be nice. I need somebody that can actually do the job right otherwise I won't pay that high salary in order for people to do nothing. Or in a much lower way a lower a lower level so it's all or nothing from for a self-employed person basically.
Magnus: These are these are very harsh words but this is the reality that has to be reflected we don't have a lot of money in this market and how can we possibly take a risk as you're saying?
Fredrik: It would be great if if nod can give me money or if they can provide let's say with a in some sort of ways then we might look at it as this. But if to be honest if I can have two not so good or three not so good programmers, or I can have one really awesome magician or wizard then I would probably choose the wizard. Because programming is also creativity. You really want people to do a change if you are working in a company that wants to do change you also want the other people in the company to be on the same vibe and in order for the creativity to aspire into the company we need to make that little extra effort: "Hey look what I did! Isn't this cool?" We are encouraging people to think outside how can we visualize this kind of data how can we how can we utilize this kind of data in a good society is a society a friendly way in order for the society and in order for the world to benefit on it if I have to choose between those two things be kind or do something that we can all benefit of in the end I would probably use the latter.
Magnus: I can't argue with that logic in fact it's kind of impossible to. So...
What was the first positive moment you had with DIGGIT? And when was it?
Fredrik: The first positive moment was when I saw the scoreboard and that you told me that actually I have many good candidates. You also had some events where you are having a lot of people come in talking about AI especially for curing cancer, Pfizer or other like big brands. I've been talking about how they solve different problems. I like these events. They are inspiring. Hopefully one day I can also come and inspire people I'm really happy enough for that but yeah but talk to data scientists and engineers and and programmers that has high skill is it is very energy boosting for me because all the talents that are in these kind of events are much much much better than myself and that's where I that's where I like to be.
Magns: Or else there's no value if you can do everything yourself then why would you know but I have to say looking at the solar panels looking at the machinery that you're working with looking at how you're connecting things together the sensors all that stuff you're putting together I'm always amazed I just google TGN Energy & Fredrik and that's all so much going on and it is it is really impressive work.
What tangible results have you gotten from using DIGGIT?
Fredrik: The best one is that actually our our candidate, Gaute, he he was very welcomed and came very well inside the team. That is one of the well I wouldn't say it's a disadvantage but that's something that you can improve on and also put maybe a little bit more of the leadership skills and a different skill of how the person is if he's introvert extrovert and these kind of things but nevertheless we kind of we had a few talks and we found out that we were on the same page on on on pretty much anything so we gave it a go and engel was employed in september I believe he started work for us then and from day one he was very welcoming team and he's been producing magic ever since he's very quick and he's he's a jewel to be honest. We've probably done a lot of mistakes throughout the years but he's definitely not a mistake. He's definitely someone that we are very happy to have on board.
Magnus: That's amazing to hear. And of course besides creating the energy systems TGN have to create the front end parts the dashboard you know the visualization of the data and how it connects together through APIs and making algorithms is there any like you have to as a wide set of skills to be able to do that fast enough as you would have expected a senior to do?
Fredrik: Yeah, he has already done it. He has integrated I think it's like five different vendor APIs into different equipments he has taking care of the whole stack basically from migrating over to from the from from one platform to another and set everything to be streamlined between logging and of course we have an it stack so he's now responsible for all the different topics and and functions there. And he's now taking in APIs with the market data and he's writing some sort of some small codes and and doing some specifics for key performance indicators he's actually making a picture for the that we call a cfo picture which is a finance module that will translate all the investments down done for the energy management system and for the battery system as a whole in order for them to be produced sorry producing information back to the investors to see to talk their language the return of investments capex opex revenues blah blah blah all these kind of things he's he's he's taking it from from a day to another. So I'm I'm happy to show you some of it later, that's a no problem.
Magnus: If you want to share that with me I'll put it over just the screen so that people can see as you're talking what you were talking about yeah I'll add a layer on top of this
Fredrik: You want me to share it now?
Magnus: Yeah, that'll be cool as well if you have it already there.
Fredrik: It's cool. I will just load it in here.. Let's see here..
Magnus: As you're loading that in.. Gaute doesn't have an education in computer science. And one of the biggest issues in reaching the green shift, according to government, is more ICT study places we need according to the government 40 000 by 2030 40 000 new it developers the current solution has been to increase the number of university slots for ICT. And even at that we're not able to create enough university slots the government has put a lower budget on the university education regardless so do you think that because gauss doesn't have a background in ICT university is that is that been a problem?
Fredrik: No, it is probably some sort of basic knowledge and that you are learning on the university then then of course you adapt that to the challenges that you have today. Basically what I learned in in the university was simply to take out taking a lot of information as as fast as possible and try to digest it and make it make sense so and that when you have google open AI and all of these things today it goes even faster he has a university degree so you see he has a but it's a totally different topic so you know how it is to learn stuff and and that is what we are that basic knowledge he's very fast to solve challenges even if he doesn't know how to treat them at the moment it takes maybe half a day and some googling and reading up on certain things then then we also have that functionality.
Magnus: What do you say to the recruiters that are automatically not looking at candidates that don't have a relevant background, like ICT education?
Fredrik: No, they can continue to do that because then I can have more quality engineers in TGN Energy; that's very good. But I understand that there is like a HR it needs to be a I guess a revolutionary shift in how you employ people by also checking up their knowledge. Google has done it for I don't know 10 years. It must be some basic testing or that you can do besides of asking if they if they can drink alcohol or if they are how they are in in social setting.
Magnus: Interesting. What made you think that even though he didn't have an education in ICT and I know you mentioned a few reasons but what made you think that this guy will definitely be able to do the job?
Fredrik: Because I saw that he had an eye for detail. He's a photographer and he has some sort of a movie. He's a creative person. He is digging into details and he has probably some passion that that drove him there and now he have actually in a very short time maybe on his spare time in like a hobby yeah grasps all that information on programming and doing both back in the new x in order to do a top score in a challenge that he probably he never seen before. That is remarkable to me. That means that this person can collect a lot of information in very short time and utilize that in his head in order to score high on test. It's either that the taste was successful or he was cheating that's basically that but that I leave to DIGGIT to verify.
Magnus: Yes, I believe the fact that he's been able to work as you have said and not failed any projects delivered on time maybe faster than what you had expected maybe not but I think that is the testament in itself.
Fredrik: Yeah. Yes.
What would you say to others reading/watching this right now, who are currently in the same situation you were in?
Fredrik: Do the test. And if you if you fail the first time google a little bit do use open I use github assitants to get better do it one more time if you fail one more time then do it again if you feel the passion for it if you if you only feel that if you want to have a job then you might think that then you might rethink that okay it's programming really something for me but if you really love programming and like the way you do do these things I think you should take the challenge one two or three times or whatever in order to improve. I'm sure that if you're actually putting an effort into this you are going to be a great programmer, because you I think the challenges are really good.
Magnus: I really appreciate those words and then the encouragement to the candidates out there struggling right now and also there's a maybe there's about 20 grad it programs in Norway from the biggest companies the that have the most amount of revenue about 99 of them are using CVs first what would you say to those companies that have 400 students 1000 students applying all at once and then using you know CVs to assess these graduate students?
Fredrik: No, it's good with CV. But okay pick up the persons that you like in the CV let the companies. Do the HR part and find the people that can work well in your group. Then you send these personnels into a DIGGIT and you make a test in DIGGITs and then you come back with the results.
Magnus: Fair enough. I think that's very clear. So finally what would you say the people that were in your situation now the hiring managers that are in your situation now what would you say?
Fredrik: I would just use DIGGIT. We can't be so restricted. We need competence. We need to accelerate the the way that we are working. Use DIGGITs so that we can get some things happening here that's pretty much the only thing I can say. I'm not going to go to 'finn.no' or a headhunter or asking more engineers doing front and back end programming. I'm going to use vetting companies. Because I can't afford anything else.
Magnus: Why would you use big as the vetting company and not another company?
Fredrik: I don't know many other vetting companies, and I have a success rate of 100 percent on the first one. It takes more time for me to change to another one. We can't change everything at once so hopefully DIGGIT will also improve, which I think everybody's doing moving forward, and and make things even better more challenges and all that.
Magnus: Much, much appreciated. And I really hope that TGN continues its exponential scale and helps us solve the green shift that Norway is struggling to reach by 2030. As one of the very few companies in Norway that's doing this that puts their money where their mouth is that actually gets results that actually creates value it actually contributes to the green shift doesn't just talk about it you guys are actually doing it there's so little venture capital in Norway 0.7 percent of of the GDP of Norway is spent on on startups yet TGN is one of the only companies in Norway that's able to contribute to the to the green shift .
Fredrik: Thank you.
Magnus: Would you say that there could be a lot more to be said about that how TGN is solving it but the website is really explaining a lot of the different products that you have launched and I think people should definitely check it out because there's really very few companies are doing that.
Fredrik: We are also relaunching a demo now we are changing a little bit of how we do marketing as well we really want to be an edge on everything anything so we are using the unreal engine and unreal engine is a motor that you are doing a video game today so we are releasing now in November a demonstration of what we're actually doing inside the grid. So we are going into a specific city where you can see it's different use cases where you can go in and look into the virtual power plants and see what batteries are actually doing to better have a better understanding in both technological way and economic and social impacts of what this is going to do for the grid so yeah stay tuned.
Magnus: Incredible. Well, I'm looking forward to that and I have a background in renewable energy so this is really at the heart of what I you know wanted to work in so I'm just really really glad that you guys stepped up to the plate and are really showing what what DIGGITal leadership looks like in Norway to be able to not only contribute to the green shift but really solve the problems that are pressing super complex lots of moving parts all the algorithms required to get to work together and this is something that you guys are on the forefront of so thank you so much for explaining that to me and making that really clear to the audience what is that TGN does.
Fredrik: Oh thank you, thank you. Finally I just want to show you guys the what we're doing with now this is our web portal. We're pushing new updates as we speak. But what you're looking at here is all the assets that we have right now red blue it has different status and the green ones are battery containers the red ones are not connected to the cloud yet it's on the construction and the blue ones external API sites so for instance I can log into one of our sorry I can log into one of our assets here in in this is a shopping mall and what you actually see here is that you see consumption inside the shopping mall you see the battery power renewable power and the grid power that the grid power is actually what you pay for so right now the renewable energy mix is quite low because it's in october and it's really bad weather so we don't have much sun today but what you can see is that the customer actually is using more power than they are allowed to do so you can see that the grid from the transformer from the grid we're actually using 200 kilowatts or 203 kilowatts flat but the consumption is actually going up to 280 290 and that could be charged stations it could be a new freezer it could be whatever but the battery is doing the whole battery work today so you see currently the battery is 75 kilowatts so it's regulating constantly and you can look at the there's also a market for selling co2 so that is also taking into consideration when we talk about profit so we use the co2 and the renewable energy that is produced today so the day today we have produced 72 67 kilowatt hours and a lifetime we have produced 319 megawatt hours it's rather new system so it has only been in operational throughout the summer we can further drill a little bit to analytics page that is currently under work and we can of course we can go in and look at data for for a week or for a month we're working with a really fast a new way of of pulling data now with a new API that is going to be released in the end of this month we have the asset management aspect of it we want to see what's happening with all these signals the markets alarms if there is an alarm there is emails reports coming out in order for us to be ready because you don't want to have downtime they're currently the state of charge in the batteries is 47 percent and it is not the data from the news not coming in but however the date marketing of a new pool and from employees are coming in so that's our market pricing signals and further on we see some it's not really up to think we go we can go into our site here it's more yeah you go into the value hub here here you can see a typically installation and total income total expense what is the payback time the copics what is capex divided into and also what opex what is the operational cost 2022 to 2030 2023 and how much carbons in euro and or in reading crown so this is simply a hub of collecting all these data and for the for the markets in in sweden now this is an API going into the value of of pricing of a different of let's say one megawatt battery one megawatt battery is currently the price for that is currently 20 euro that is actually yeah that is actually that's right great if you have one battery in standby for for one hour that's roughly 20 euros for doing nothing that means that if you summarize that in a year it's roughly seven six to seven hundred thousand euros of income of doing nothing is that is the insurance policy and a battery asset costs roughly about nine hundred thousand euros so you mean that actually means that in sweden right now for having these kind of resources you have a return on investments for between one and a half to two years which is really good so all these data is transferred and it's being optimized and then you're sending signals back to the assets that I showed you here on the map we like I say we are doing some yeah we are doing some adjustments right now so so the asset is here so all these green are dots are getting this set points into them so that they can stand ready ready when the when the market is paying a high value for their assets so these are your you call them assets they're your batteries that you've set up throughout yeah and it's also like it's also a huge pv plant not very not huge but it's a it's a power plant of 523 kilowatt hours down in fedex town so we also have control of that and we can see how much it's producing and and that is also where we can get co2 savings out from and also a production data of how much that is produced within this cloud then we can generate reports and and all these kind of things how much co2 have you saved and is it significant compared to you know reaching the green shift at the moment I'm not really we need a couple of hundred tgms to do something or maybe thousands in the world rather than right now we are saving 885 tons of co2 which is we have not been operating so many years but this number is going to increase manyfold by the installations that we actually now not own but that we are connecting into the asset management cloud how much can you say let's say five years time how much carbon so right now it's 800 tons about how much in one year how much in five years I actually I don't have a target for that but it's going to be a few thousand a lot of thousands that is for sure but that is a buy this is actually a by-product when you do have these battery installations the main income and the main society impact is when you are easing up capacity in the grid so yeah you can you can look at this platform having multiple revenue streams and this is one of them but not the main one understood okay yep yes because tgm is not a pv deployment company there is many many if you look at food specialist system they have many many thousands of pv installations their number must be huge but together with suicide specialist suicide specialist would not be able to or not be allowed to put so much so many and continue their growth if they would not have batteries in the grid so it's like batteries and solar wind is going hand in hand.
Magnus: Well, that made it incredibly clear Fredrik. So, again very impressive work. I think we'll have to leave it at that and I'll let you know how the video goes and if if there's any major mistakes or whatever I'll let you know.
Fredrik: No worries. And thank you very much Magnus. It's always a pleasure. I want to talk more about this and I'm sure that we are going to put I think now we have 10 assets in our cloud within a short time we probably have 20 30 40 assets and by two years time we should have reached over 100 minimum that's a low target. And by yeah we can talk about megawatts and gigawatts of of hours next time, hopefully.
Magnus: Yeah, I think maybe just like if you could send me over a kind of goal that you guys have just so I can say that and just make it really clear for people how much impact you guys can actually make you know not just like from today but based on the progress like you know you mentioned thousands of tons of carbon, and then all the energy production.
Fredrik: Right, so like based on the speed and the vision support television our vision is to be the biggest virtual power plant in the world and of course that is Tesla today because they have all the cars and all that but who knows let's just aim at that that way and then just work constantly to thrive towards reaching that goal.
Magnus: It's hard to say more than that isn't it so yeah anyway I'm gonna stop the recording now so thank you so much Fredrik.
Fredrik: No worries.