This week we phoned up Kelly McIntyre, Commercial Director at Petrostars, to discuss her fascinating role, the value of small start-ups and the changing landscape of sustainable energy.
What exactly is Petrostars and how are you different from other energy companies?
Petrostars delivers a new breed of engineers and Innovators to the Energy, Raw Materials & Environmental Sectors. Through our commercial business arena, we are here to provide asset management services, set up and own small energy assets across Hydrocarbons, Renewables & Mining and provide a higher standard of sectorial training.
We are different because we are small, we are nimble, we don’t have to worry about the same bottom-lines that the larger energy companies. Unfortunately, even those of a larger ilk that make a claim to be sustainable, find that they are restricted by their onerous business structures and needs, thus fall short of their own hopes and ideals. We have all seen the large companies pulling out of the game because of shift changes due to decommissioning, etc., as such the North Sea is becoming a grave yard. Many of those companies are no longer interested because they cannot get the money out it that they require for viability. They are also not interested in increasing the revenue for the UK Government for the North Sea. Only then vital funds can go into supporting the full energy chain, instead of continued damage to Health, Education and Infrastructure budgets. As such, we can make in-roads. It is about looking for the best markets that are the most long-term sustainable and viable. In turn our aims are to allow even our natural competitors to sustain their business too. We are bringing the aims of Carnegie, Ford & Cadbury into the 21st Century Energy market.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your current role at Petrostars?
I’ve always had a distinct and utter fascination with industry and enterprise. When I was approached by Phil Bailey at PetroStars I had just come back from a short sabbatical and I wanted to make a career change from third sector but wasn’t sure how I was going to do it and this job seemed like such an obvious match – linking with industry, start-ups and looking at things in a new way.
The reality is we need a blended energy mix and that’s what we’re all about, training people to be the best at what they’re doing, about transitioning into this next level of what this economy of energy is going to be. As I was initially considered for the philanthropic arm of the PetroStars Academy, I was thrilled when it became clear that all of my skillsets gained in project management, finance, etc. were particularly useful for what we needed as the over-arching organization. When Phil approached me with the Commercial Director role, I was honoured to accept. We want to work in the third sector, in emerging economies, as opposed to traditional and conventional ways of looking at energy – so as to avoid traps that close off innovation and close doors.
Tell me about the currency of social energy and using Ethereum and Pure Blockchain to revolutionize the way we use energy?
The PetroStars NVX currency is essentially a means to increase efficiency in transactions and operations. Thereby reducing non-productive overheads and increasing the amount of revenue available to fund sustainable energy projects for social benefit. Ethereum is the platform, which enables applications to be written and has its own currency. Blockchain is the same as an accountant’s ledger – just more up to date – so contractors, developers, workers and customers can see proof that work has been done, products and services are available. Our aim is simple: decrease wasteful processes, ensure people deliver what they have promised before being paid and measure properly what our assets are delivering. The objective is to produce energy supplies at a level that is affordable for the NHS and areas of the UK that are economically disadvantaged.
What misconception do you think the general public has about sustainable energy?
People think that anything that is labelled “sustainable” is…Clearly, and logically, this is not the case. It comes down to kitchen table issues – and those can be our kitchen tables, or a collective kitchen table, and if something does not add up in the end, socially, fiscally, or environmentally, it simply isn’t truly sustainable.
In simplistic terms, many people will not choose a sustainable energy provider if they cannot afford it. It’s one giant playing field of misconception. And when they do, it’s just a fad, to seem to keep up with the Jone's or latest hip Instagram company trend. Even within the environmental/sustainability ‘sector’ you will find people and organisations must overlook this reality to justify whatever it is that they’re doing. But this is a dangerous game, as these players truly want to believe they’re doing the right thing, and thus overlook that which falls short of the mark. I always want to feel good about what I’m doing - who doesn’t - but I’ve realized that as soon as I own up to what can be done better, the sooner it can be improved upon. Collectively, in the energy/industrial sectors, and beyond, we all need to do just that...own up, be brave, and move forward collectively.
How do you think sustainable energy will develop in Europe over the coming five years?
I think it will be the small start-ups that will lead the way. And it could just be a small tweak on something conventional, but somehow that tweak makes things work more beneficially, and has long lasting, positive, impact and an ecosystem of change and innovation. There will be trial and error…but that is how progress is achieved. This clearly isn’t a definitive answer, but I think anyone going forward saying “they knew how to be it all” within the energy sector would be wishing they could eat their words later.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar position to your own, or someone looking to set up their own business in sustainable energy?
Be brave, figure out what you have to offer, what you stand for, speak to people who are also brave, and let them be brave with you, because most people will bring other people along. Phil brought me along and I brought lots of other people along throughout my career and life journey. So just ask, really! The worst someone can tell you is no. If you are going to start your own company, talk to other people doing it too, don’t be afraid to ask for help on what you’re working on. Collaboration is key if we are to see the best traction for forward, positive change in sustainable energy. The biggest changes we’ve seen in our society have been born of a willingness of people to enter discourse, share ideas, share failures, and work together.
What do you think of Kelly’s work at Petrostars? Are you involved in the sustainable energy industry? Chat with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or if you’re eager to read more interviews like this check out our blog.