An Interview with Jack Doueck and David Smart

On Thursday, December 7thDavid Smart of the BioStar Renewables “RENEWables” podcast interviewed Jack Doueck, the founder of the Energy Marketing Conference for his podcast.  The following are some of the notes from that meeting.
David: I know you’re a serial entrepreneur. Can you give us some background on your companies?

Jack:  I started Advanced Energy Capital decades ago with my partner Rick Rudy. The mission of AEC is to provide financing for small to mid-size energy companies to grow. We have been blessed with the ability to help dozens of retail energy companies get off the ground and succeed. Many of them have sold out to bigger companies with nine-figure exits. 
Over the years we focused more and more on the renewable space, and in 2012 we founded Greenbacker Renewable Energy Corp.  Greenbacker today has over $3.5 billion in assets. 
We also founded AEC Energy Management, a C&I energy brokerage firm about a decade ago and revived it in 2022 to help hotels with procurement and energy efficiency measures. 
In 2016 we founded LED PLUS, the leading loyalty and retention program for retail energy providers. LED PLUS has shipped free packages of LEDs – white labeled for the REPs – to over 600,000 happy customers.
We are also part owner of a C&I energy retailer focused only on tall buildings in big cities. 
In 2013 we founded the Energy Marketing Conference with Larry Leikin (who has since moved on) and thankfully, EMC has brought together hundreds of competitive energy professionals twice a year since then. We just recently completed our 20thconference. 
David: What is happening right now in the wholesale and retail energy space with regard to renewable energy and the energy transition?
Jack:  There are two trends that I see in this industry:

    • Generators are becoming wholesalers. Wholesalers are becoming retailers (e.g. Shell, BP, EDF, Constellation, Engie, NRG).  This may be great for the consumer, but it is making it next to impossible for the SMB to compete with the “goliaths”.
    • Everyone seems to be changing their names, their missions, and their suite of products.  NRG’s “Green Mountain Energy” grew and became a phenomenally successful brand. Spark became “VIA renewables”. There are so many new names in the industry: Clean Choice Energy, Inspire Clean Energy, Clean Sky Energy, Apex Clean Energy, ATG Clean Energy, Green Choice Energy, Greenlight Energy, and many more! 

They are developing new products: 100% green, Renewable natural gas, community solar, free EV charging deals (such as the one from Clearview Energy), and many others.
They launched new services and partnerships: Rooftop Solar, batteries, Nest Thermostats, Demand Response, energy-efficiency measures embedded in the procurement
David: What do you think a winning procurement strategy will be in 2024?
Jack: There are three ways to procure power: 1) variably 2) long-term fixed pricing and 3) a hybrid: Block and Index (“B&I”). I am a believer in B&I for many reasons:

  1. Flexibility: B&I allows businesses to purchase a portion of their energy usage at a fixed price (the block), while the remaining energy is priced according to the market index price. This dual approach provides a balance between budget certainty and market opportunity.
  2. Cost Savings: When market prices are low, the index portion allows businesses to take advantage of lower rates, potentially leading to cost savings compared to a fixed-price contract.
  3. Risk Management: The fixed block portion helps companies manage budget risk by locking in a price for a portion of their consumption, protecting them from price spikes.
  4. Customization: Businesses can tailor the B&I strategy to fit their risk tolerance and budget requirements by adjusting the size of the block and the index portions.
  5. Market Participation: The index portion of the strategy allows businesses to participate in the market, giving them the potential to benefit from market dips, which is not possible with a fully fixed-price strategy.

Overall, the appeal of the Block and Index strategy lies in its ability to combine the predictability of fixed prices with the flexibility and potential savings of market-based pricing.

David: You are heading into your 11th year bringing together competitive energy professionals at the semi-annual Energy Marketing Conferences you hold each year.   Can you tell us about EMC and what you’re planning for 2024?
Jack:  We have lots of exciting things coming up for 2024!  We will hold our Spring conference in Houston on March 18-19th with the theme of “Mitigating Risk in Retail Energy”. We are also going to add a third day for the first time to include a fun activity for those who want to stay and have a day of networking fun. 

This year for the Fall event we announced that we will be moving from New York City to Casesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, September 24-25th.  

Each conference will include: 

  • 10 Preconference sessions
  • Opening Night Reception with a famous band performing for us
  • Big-name keynote speaker  
  • 10 Fastball Pitchers
  • “REP of the Year” Award
  • Supplier-Broker Exchange (for C&I brokers to network with C&I suppliers)
  • 40 Exhibitors
  • 50 speakers
  • Lots of networking opportunities
  • Our signature “CEO Round Table”
  • Selected panelists who are large consumers of energy 
  • Closing Night Reception
  • PLUS A special event the day after for people who want to continue the networking

David: What sectors is Advanced Energy Capital investing in these days?
Jack: We are investing in small & medium businesses (SMB), multi-family real estate that we “greenify” to upgrade, and renewable energy companies and projects.

David: What keeps you up at night about today’s challenges in the energy industry?
 Jack: Continuous and non-stop regulation and re-regulation.  There is bad press virtually every day as we read about bad actors, marketing practices etc.  Plus, 68% of the country has no choice – 34 out of 50 states are still monopolies!  EMC supports many non-profit advocacy groups such as REAL and RESA that work to help the industry. 

In a collaborative effort, EMC has joined forces with RESA and REAL to amplify their voices within our vibrant community of 11,000 energy professionals. This partnership extends support for vital initiatives, from encouraging our members to engage with legislative representatives on industry, impacting policies to offering platform opportunities. 

At EMC events, RESA and REAL play pivotal roles as thought leaders, contributing to panels and pre-conference sessions, aligning with our shared mission of propelling the competitive retail energy market forward and ensuring its resilience in the face of future challenges.

As we look ahead to 2024, Jack Doueck emphasized the importance of innovative procurement strategies and the integration of green technologies. With the upcoming Energy Marketing Conferences, Doueck and his team are setting the stage for deeper industry collaboration, showcasing the latest trends and opportunities in risk mitigation, and celebrating achievements with the REP of the Year Award. 

Above all, the commitment of Advanced Energy Capital to investing in sustainable and emerging sectors underscores their dedication to a greener future. As the industry navigates through the ever-evolving challenges of regulation and public perception, organizations like REAL and RESA are pivotal in advocating for consumer choice and competitive markets. 

Doueck’s journey reflects a concerted effort to foster an environment where energy innovation thrives, ensuring that the industry remains robust and responsive to the needs of consumers and the planet alike.