At Perceptive Power Infrastructure, we’re proud to have a well-rounded team. By well-rounded we mean that they understand the human aspects of the energy industry as much as the technical and operational aspects. They have vastly different professional backgrounds, but they share an important trait – coming from and caring about small towns and rural America. They’ve seen the challenges that rural electric cooperatives face and they want to address them.
To address these challenges in the industry, innovation is necessary. Our team is taking a fresh approach to implementing innovative strategies. Quite frankly, what we’re doing is unique in the energy sector.
This approach has been driven by the ideas of one of our co-founders, Scott Tampke. In this blog, we’ll explore how through Scott’s new approach, we’re helping RECs navigate the huge shifts in the energy industry.
An electrical engineer with the heart of an innovator
An electrical engineer by training and an entrepreneur by trade, Scott has worn several hats in the energy world. Fifteen years ago, he developed and patented a wireless M2M system for remote monitoring of processes, pipelines, exploration, and production of oil and gas. Even then, he was ahead of the curve.
After selling the patent to Elecsys Corporation, he joined their team as Chief Technology Officer and later, Chief Sales Officer. However, Scott saw more opportunities to help shape the energy industry. In 2012 he joined Black & Veatch as Business Development Manager of Data Analytics. Before long, he’d transitioned into the role of Director of Renewable Energy Business Development.
“At Black & Veatch, I was heavily involved with their entry into large solar. Under my guidance, we developed 600 MW of solar for Florida Power & Light. It was revolutionary.”
Across these positions, Scott gained invaluable insight into the inner workings of the industry. He saw the massive changes coming for the energy market and recognized the critical challenges those changes were bringing.
After leaving Black & Veatch, Scott began doing some small consulting work. He wanted to put his expertise to work in Rural America, where his roots stem from, and it was during this time that he came in contact with True Green Capital.
How did Perceptive Power Infrastructure get its start?
“A former colleague introduced me to True Green Capital. They had just finished raising capital for a fund and they were looking for people who understood Rural America. They said, ‘Look, you appear to understand this rural economy. We’re going to close out a fund we’ve been raising capital for and we’d like you to work with us.’ So, we started Perceptive Power Infrastructure,” said Scott.
Perceptive Power Infrastructure has 660 million dollars of development funding already available via our partner True Green Capital. This fact alone sets the company apart. Our projects don’t have to wait while we go to market to secure capital. The way we spend and talk about money is also unique. That stems from Scott’s straight-shooting and honest approach.
“Transparency is necessary. When you’re spending people’s money, I believe they should receive straight answers. If someone asks me a question, I really do believe they want an honest answer. That’s why we developed a financial model that shows our clients exactly where we’re coming from.” he said.
For Scott, it’s essential that we build a foundation of trust with our clients. We don’t just design the projects and hand them over to someone else. Instead, we’re there every step of the way. Since we’re in the business of building relationships, it was important for Scott to have the right people in his team.
What was your strategy for building the PPI team?
According to Scott, innovation extends to choosing and working with the right people.
“You go out and find the most talented people who can work together in a team environment. You also need to surround yourself with people who are not the same as you. They will give you a different perspective. When it’s necessary, you have to be willing to step back, listen, and learn from them,” Scott answered.
However, finding the right people isn’t always easy. Teammates like Gary Hurse bring decades of experience managing RECs, and Scott recognizes that even he can learn a lot from Gary.
“Gary understands things about rates and structures that would take me 20 more years to understand. This is why you need to surround yourself with people who add value to what you’re trying to accomplish.”
It was also important to Scott to find people who could look at energy differently – a fundamental element to our success.
Our goal isn’t just to sell distributed energy resources. Our goal is to create tailored, long-term solutions by understanding our clients, where the market is going, and how our solutions need to adapt in order to be sustainable.
How is Perceptive Power Infrastructure going to do that?
“The whole push in the solar industry has been to go cheaper in price. The bigger you build, the more you can absorb the interconnection costs. However, when you put more renewable energy on the grid, it’s going to cause other complications. Grid costs are going up. We won’t reduce anyone’s risk by building something bigger and interconnecting it to the grid if the end cost that the customer is paying continues to go up,” replied Scott.
Instead, we’re installing distributed generation solutions as close as possible to our clients to generate better value, maximum versatility, and reduced exposure to transmission and grid costs.
We work primarily with RECs and C&I companies. And our commitment to understanding and advancing distributed generation, we leverage advanced modeling to align each project with every client’s needs and opportunities. My team and I work directly with every client throughout the project’s duration, ensuring continuity and fostering a partnership grounded in trust and understanding.
We don’t claim to know how a certain technology will benefit a client without fully understanding their situation. First, we need to understand their energy bill and operations. Then, we’ll look at every energy asset that makes sense to help them accomplish their specific goals to determine the combination of assets that will best serve them as a distributed generation or behind-the-meter solution.
Does Perceptive Power Infrastructure have solutions for every problem?
Scott is straightforward when it comes to choosing which problems to address.
“Some things are worth solving and some things are not. Is your problem a 50-cent problem or a $50,000 problem? If it’s a 50-cent problem, I’m not going to spend 10,000 dollars to solve it. You have to understand what’s worth solving.”
That doesn’t mean we ignore the small problems altogether. It means we’re here to help our partners save money in both the short and long term by initiating real conversations to create tailored solutions that empower cooperatives to navigate the evolving energy landscape in the best way possible.
In doing that, it’s also important to understand how the energy industry needs to adapt over the coming years. Peak times can change. The breadth of those times could change. When we create solutions, we’re creating them with the long term in mind. According to Scott, most developers aren’t thinking that way.
Perceptive Power Infrastructure innovates for the future
Scott sees some big shifts on the horizon and he’s prepared to meet them.
“Anyone can go buy the equipment and put it together. The question is, how do we take the best technology that’s available and put it to use in a way that has a minimum cost versus the monetized output for everyone involved?”
Scott has already answered his own question. Using his knowledge of the industry, he has built a team that he’s not afraid to listen to. Our combined expertise gives us the perspective necessary to build the right solutions and partnerships while making the most of the valuable tools at our disposal.
Guided by “The Perceptive Way”, Scott’s guiding framework and honest, open-book way of doing business, we’re bringing much-needed transparency to the market.
When it comes to talking about the future, Scott is full of energy (pun intended). He sees our big-picture, customer-centered approach as the right way forward. When asked about the future of the market and what role Perceptive Power Infrastructure will play, his answer was simple.
“What we’re doing is going to change everything.”
To talk further about Scott’s approach to rural energy and how Perceptive Power Infrastructure could support your community, get in touch.
Meet the Team is a series of blogs in which we introduce the great people who make up Perceptive Power Infrastructure. Each blog explores the expertise they bring to our team and how they’re working to make the industry better for rural electric cooperatives.