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Progress in an unpredictable year: our energy transition highlights of 2020 and predictions for the future

We’ve done it… We’ve reached the end of 2020. As we all breathe a collective sigh of relief and look forward to the year ahead, it’s time to take a glass half full approach and celebrate the success we’ve seen in the new energy transition over the past year.

I was recently joined by my colleagues Charmaine Coutinho, Head of Consulting, and Lindsay Sugden, Head of Heat, to do just that.

Listen to our latest episode of Talking New Energy to find out more – if you hadn’t had a chance to tune in this year, I recommend listening in 2021; we explore the hottest topics in new energy.

Three highlights of 2020

  • Comfort as a Service: Eneco, a Dutch utility, are already trialling this in 60 new build homes. We have seen an increasing number of heat as a service propositions over the past few years, but this is the first true comfort as a service offering we’ve seen, where the supplier takes all the risk, and the customer pays a fixed fee. On top of that, Eneco provides heat pumps and PV optimisation, so it’s possible for these buildings to be net zero – the PV supplies all the heat pump electricity. It’s an exciting proposition.
  • Decarbonisation as a mainstream theme: A recent whitepaper we published with Alpiq, a European energy company, looked at 3 Ds: decarbonisation, digitalisation and decentralisation. What came out of that clearly is 2020 has seen decarbonisation become a huge mainstream theme, which is almost just accepted as the norm. If more companies like Shell continue to declare net zero emissions by 2050, or announce energy strategies like BP, surely we are at a tipping point.
  • Origin’s investment in Octopus Energy: The London-based energy retailer and energy software company was valued at over a billion pounds, representing a unicorn valuation in new energy. Hopefully we’ll see this attract more investment into the space, and Octopus’s software can continue to enable other energy retailers to flourish in the energy transition.

What we expect to see in 2021

Looking into our Talking New Energy Crystal Ball, here are three developments we expect to see next year.

  • The battle to sell electricity and other related services to electric vehicle customers hots up. We’ve already seen Elli, the Volskwagen subsidiary, launch electricity retail and related services for charging cars in Germany. Tesla has launched electricity supply coupled with its batteries in the UK. There’s going to be a huge growth in the EV market and there’s a lot these customers will need. We’re going to see a big battle to provide services to these customers.
  • Local level optimisation of energy generation and consumption, whether that’s through local energy systems, microgrids or within the home. It’s difficult as an end-customer to understand the role you can play. We’ll see more and more companies innovate and provide propositions that meet customer needs while also optimising the energy system at a local level.
  • Minimum energy performance standards in existing buildings: As mentioned in the European Commission’s Renovation Wave Strategy, such developments are being considered in some markets like Germany. This could be what’s needed to crack the really tough nut of decarbonising existing buildings.

So there we have it – another year in the energy transition. We look forward to seeing what next year brings. We’d also like to take this opportunity, from everyone at Delta-EE, to wish you and your friends a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2021. Take care.

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