Enlit Europe is the number one event in the energy sector, where industry leaders, experts, and innovators come together to discuss a wide range of subjects – all related to the energy transition.
Traditionally, the MaxBill team is eager to offer our unique viewpoint on the event. This year, we focus on the main topics and opportunities where organisations can find their next best business case. Let’s dive into our highlights and insights from this perspective!
Enlit Europe 2023: Current Trends in the E&U sectors
Significant shifts in the energy market redesign:
- Changes in EU regulations for energy sharing and end-user energy contracts.
- Discussions on new tariff structures for grid connection and capacity.
- Models like capacity bandwidth and time-of-use grid tariffs being considered.
- Growing importance of in-home energy management.
- Need for new business relationships and models.
Essential factors that fuel the shifts:
- Ageing infrastructure: SAP Global reports 50% of EU’s network to reach end of life by 2030.
- Electrification demands: Necessity to double grid size by 2050.
- Rise of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and prosumers creating connection queues, a major bottleneck in decarbonization (Ofgem’s observation)
Regulatory changes and trends:
- EU’s 2023 regulations for energy sharing, promoting a collaborative energy ecosystem.
- Anticipated regulations to boost self-consumption and flexibility for DSOs and TSOs.
- Growing need for cloud-based solutions for energy flexibility.
- Importance of a standardised approach to managing excess energy flexibility.
Powerful Combination of Hardware and Software
Enlit Europe 2023 proved to be a vibrant testament to the feasibility of the energy transition, showcasing the powerful combination of hardware and software supported by regulatory frameworks. Hardware, the backbone of stability, efficiency, and visibility, is complemented by the software’s prowess in system-wide simulation, control, data analytics, and communication.
This synergy ensures seamless interoperability across the vital layers of business, function, information, communication, and components, setting the stage for an optimised and responsive energy ecosystem. In this environment, everyone will find value, provide value, and – will build their business case.
Energy Flexibility: Where Do Business Cases Hide?
Current State of Energy Flexibility:
- Electricity Transmission System Operators (TSOs) questioning the timeline of energy flexibility.
- Advocates argue that TSOs are a primary obstacle to energy flexibility.
- Recognition of the need for extensive work in energy market redesign.
Need for Standardised Access to Energy Flexibility:
- Essential for a standardised method for accessing energy flexibility.
- Should enable optimisation across various devices and types beyond current use cases.
- EN50491-12-2 (S2) standard exists, offering a tailored approach to energy flexibility.
- Applicable for devices like EV chargers, heat pumps, hybrid heat pumps, and batteries.
Challenges in Implementing Standards:
- Limited implementation of EN50491-12-2 (S2) in devices and Energy Management Systems (EMS).
- Situation resembles a chicken-and-egg scenario regarding standard adoption.
Potential Business Cases
- The best business cases and value lay in congestion solutions, balancing solutions in the market, ways energy is going to be distributed, etc. (as stated by Jorrit Nutma at Enlit Europe 2023 panel)
- Solution providers can find business opportunities in delivering:
- Configurable end-user energy contracts with time-of-use tariffs.
- Development of novel tariff structures, considering diverse regulatory landscapes.
- Expertise and tech capacities in navigating the evolving energy market and exploiting energy flexibility for business success.
Energy Communities: Citizen Project or Business Opportunity?
Energy Communities in the EU:
- New approach to organising energy and citizens.
- Typically, cooperative producers and suppliers.
- Primarily self-financed through crowdfunding without equity requirements.
Collaborative Model Proposal by Marion Richard (Initiative Energie Partagée):
- Suggests collaboration of citizens, local governments, and the private sector.
- Focuses on small to medium-sized projects, mainly managed by energy communities.
- Aims to minimise the risk of corporate capture in large projects with diverse stakeholders.
Viability and Profit Generation:
- Energy communities’ primary goal may not be profit, but viable business cases are possible.
- Activities that suggest potential business cases include EV charging and municipal services.
- Collaboration can create beneficial projects with third-party management of economic flows when business cases unfold.
- Attraction of small investors to create small, mid-sized projects with energy communities’ orchestrators ahead.
- Emphasis on the importance of necessary safeguards when implementing common projects between government, people, and the private sector.
Role of Awareness and Reputation:
- Pablo Barrachina, Project Manager at My Energia Oner, emphasises raising awareness and improving the reputation of energy communities by demonstrating real-life business cases.
- MaxBill supports this vision and offers technical solutions for enhancement that comprise:
- economic flow management
- CRM and partner management
Going Multi-Utility Across Europe: Is It Frictionless Everywhere?
The “Multi Utility in Practice” panel discussion at Enlit Europe 2023 revealed that while the concept of multi-utility gateways is gaining traction in Europe, it’s becoming increasingly complex due to differing standards and realities in each country.
Transition to Multi-Utility:
- Encompasses smart cities, waste management, and traffic systems.
- Includes the need to mitigate cyber vulnerabilities during data integration.
- Paul De Wit of Alliander views smart meters as a key driver, more than governmental mandates.
Advantages of Multi-Utility Integration in Europe:
- Offers a single point of contact for various utility services.
- Enhances operational efficiency for companies.
- Consolidation leads to customer cost savings through better pricing and resource management.
- Energy communities already use multi-utility models effectively and profitably.
Requirements for Adopting Multi-Utility:
- Needs a unified vision among regulators, governments, and businesses.
- Focus on creating business cases to incentivize companies.
- The European Commission should provide supportive mandates, focusing beyond technology.
Success Factors for Multi-Utility Integration:
- Relies on the availability and reliability of mission-critical infrastructure.
- Requires standardisation, interoperability, and comprehensive security measures.
- Governments should promote standardisation and connect different companies.
- Emphasis on consistent certifications and standards to facilitate integration.
The Collaborative Advantage: Partnerships Drive Success
Enlit Europe 2023 has proven to be an influential platform for fostering new partnerships and developing lucrative business opportunities. This year, MaxBill saw a significant increase in partnership possibilities, broadening its connections within the energy and utility industries. These potential partners brought a variety of business roles and opportunities for collaboration.
Looking back at the year, MaxBill has effectively grown its network, establishing fresh connections and identifying prospects for continued expansion. The team is invigorated and looking forward to being a helpful solution provider in the sector in 2024.