Austin Texas, September 12, 2023

The Gulf Coast Power Association (GCPA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Michael Lee as the 2023 recipient of the GCPA emPOWERing Young Professionals Award. This award is presented annually to an individual under the age of 40 who has achieved excellence in the electric power industry, making unique contributions to the success of the electric power market and serving as a role model and leader for others.

Michael Lee has worked in the renewable energy industry for more than a decade and currently serves as CEO of Octopus Energy U.S. Michael’s extensive career experience began after he earned his MBA from Harvard, where he quickly unlocked his passion for cleaner and cheaper electricity. He went on to work on some of the first battery storage projects and developed solar solutions for global Fortune 500’s. Michael co-founded Pacific New Energy in 2016, leading the charge in establishing international partnerships to deliver solutions in collaboration with local utilities. Michael spent nearly a decade in the IPP industry helping finance some of the earliest batteries, wind and solar projects.

In 2018, Michael launched an energy retailer in Texas called Evolve Energy. Michael’s innovative product focused on real-time index pricing paired with load shaping automation software to support optimal energy usage and ease grid tensions while saving customers money. During his time with Evolve Energy, Michael led negotiations with ERCOT electric supply agreements (EMSA, ISDA), optimizing liquidity needs and risk exposures. Michael recognized the importance and value of helping customers reduce energy bills by using technology and consumer-friendly demand response products to balance the grid.

In 2020, Michael aligned with Greg Jackson, CEO and founder of Octopus Energy, when they realized the power of their shared mission to decarbonize energy through technology and smart rates. Just two years after its launch, Evolve Energy was acquired by Octopus Energy, an energy technology company leading the global-scale effort to build a more reliable grid and push toward the goal of decarbonizing energy. Michael and his team have tackled Texas' power industry problems head-on through innovative, tech-driven solutions and products. He is an entrepreneur who believes in using technology to create demand-centric solutions to enforce a more resilient energy grid. Octopus Energy is currently valued at more than $5 billion in 2023 and is backed by some of the largest global energy players such as Al Gore's Generation Investment Management, Origin Energy, Tokyo Gas and CPP.

According to Michael Jewell, Managing Attorney of Jewell & Associates, PLLC, “Michael’s commitment and passion for the clean energy transition is so infectious that it inspires all who work with him and meet him. With a background in finance and energy, he has dedicated himself both professionally and personally to immersing himself in the driving political factors that influence the push to decarbonization. He is relentlessly dedicated, focused on bringing to ERCOT and other markets innovative customer service and programs that are the hallmark of a successful competitive retail market.”

As noted by Matthew Boms, Executive Director of the Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance, “No other retailer has clearly linked low retail energy prices to low retail rates. As a Retail 2.0 company, they offer unique, innovative rate plans that are the cheapest on the market by using smart features on electric vehicles and thermostats to create a better load profile. Michael and Octopus Energy are developing the future smart, low cost, highly reliable electric grid through Distributed Energy Resources and a virtuous circle of cheaper rates linked to connected devices.”

Keith Emery, Sr. Vice President of Tenaska and GCPA Board Member, stated, “It’s been a pleasure to witness Michael’s career progress from taking on key strategic roles in wind and solar to founding his own energy retail startup and running the U.S. division of an innovative and fast-growing global energy tech business. Michael has helped to lead the team at Octopus to be a Retail 2.0 company by moving away from the model of gaining profits at the expense of the customer.  With Intelligent Octopus, he has been instrumental in developing a smart demand response plan to help Texans automate energy usage and save money while prioritizing grid efficiency.  With this vision and execution, I cannot think of a more deserving nominee for GCPA’s emPOWERing Young Professionals Award.”

About the emPOWERing Young Professionals Award:

The EYP award is given to a GCPA individual or corporate member who is less than 40-years-old at the end of the calendar year and has achieved excellence in the power industry.  The nomination criteria include the following:

  • Career progress
  • Industry involvement
  • Leadership development
  • Innovation
  • Reputation within the community
  • Role model for other young professionals
  • Noteworthy professional and personal achievements
  • Commitment to excellence and proven leadership
  • Expertise, passion, and the ability to inspire others