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For 7 years until 2012, Nigel was Programme Delivery Manager within E.ON's engineering business, building an Innovation team to commercialise distributed, smart and cleantech energy solutions for retail customers.  

He led a broad range of engineering & IS programmes and projects, including technologies & systems as varied as a Virtual Power Plant application solution, micro-CHP, anaerobic digestion, heat pumps, solar PV and smart energy clients for homes and businesses.  The programmes followed an end-to-end development cycle including everything from strategy development, technology selection, development & trialling, consortium build & contract negotiation, logistics, supply chain and roll-out planning (including at times post-live support of real customers).

Innovation Stories from the Future

Which of the many stories of emerging innovation in the energy services world give us a true glimpse of how it will look in future?

The energy services world is changing as never before.

There are many reasons why.

There are challenging new objectives for carbon reduction, security of supply and fuel poverty.

Can the 21st century’s energy ‘trilemma’ really be solved by energy systems that were designed for the 20th century?

New technology is responding to the challenge.

In many markets today, PV opens up opportunities for new business models and new value creation. In the future, it will be joined by other candidates such as storage, distributed generation, and electric vehicles.

A wave of new entrant suppliers are entering the market with innovative business models and propositions, stealing market share.

Vertical markets are colliding.

Telcos are already eating into the energy market in the US, and are starting to do so in Europe. And appliance manufacturers have their eyes on part of the energy value chain.

The rise of connectivity and the Internet of Things opens up huge opportunities.

It also enables third parties to disintermediate utilities from customers, potentially reducing them to wholesalers operating on wafer thin margins.

There are so many new opportunities that, at Delta-ee, we have set ourselves the goal of identifying the most exciting stories of how innovation will change the energy services landscape.

And we’re not just focusing on ‘ideas’ – but looking instead for the early commercial offerings, trials and demonstrations that provide clear glimpses of the future.

Yes it’s about technology, but it’s also about a whole lot more. Consider the novel micro-CHP solution supplied by Flow Energy.

It’s an interesting piece of domestic technology: but what’s really appealing is their effective reinvention of themselves as an energy company; and their imaginative “pay just for installation” offering to customers. By taking energy companies out of the picture, Flow are able to access new value pools far outside those normally associated with boilers and micro-CHP.

Will this kind of novel thinking become the new normal in what has traditionally been a slow-moving industry?

This is just the start.

Delta-ee’s new Energy Services Innovation database will capture the most exciting value creation opportunities emerging from:

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E.ON splits: a sign of things to come? But the innovation challenge remains

The logic of E.ON’s announcement is compelling. It creates an old world (20th) century utility and a new world (21st) century utility. The former is centralised and asset led. The latter is decentralised and customer led.
We like to think we’re far-sighted. Four years ago we forecast, in a joint study with Accenture, that to thrive in the future utilities would need to develop new business models around distributed generation and energy services. We even held two ‘Energy Services in Europe’ Summits in 2010 and 2011. But we concluded that utilities were far from developing new business models based on service rather than supply. Maybe we didn’t sell the story sufficiently well to utilities. Or maybe those at the top of the organisations weren’t ready to really listen. Since then, progress on energy services has been slow (and thats being charitable).
E.ON’s announcement isn’t a bolt out of the blue. Utilities have been starting to talk up growth strategies around energy services. E.ON’s launched a new business unit, Connecting Energies and has made some interesting strategic ventures investments in the area. EDF’s chairman talked about a future where energy services played a key role in its company. Centrica’s investing heavily in its Connected Homes subsidiary.
But few companies have – in our views, and in the views of utility equity analysts - yet shown they can grow significant energy services revenues. We believe that to do this the ability to innovate is a critical asset. Our new WHITEPAPER describes the growing drivers for change and the rationale behind our view on innovation.
The institutional barriers in many large utilities are one of the key barriers stifling innovation. An asset led business- most utilities today- makes a small number of conservative 'big' decisions that have longstanding impacts. A customer focussed business needs to be nimble, make many small decisions, segment its customer base, iterate, learn, and pivot. Almost the polar opposite. 

Eons strategic split addresses this barrier. It doesn't guarantee that the new utility will succeed but it gives it a better chance of succeeding.
And we see benefits for a range of stakeholders
  • Investors: they now have choice to invest where they see value
  • Employees: each company has a clearer strategy and can play to its strengths. They can attract and retain staff with the right skills for the right business
  • Customers: the new utility will be able to respond to their needs faster, innovation will (hopefully) accelerate and customers will be offered a range of compelling propositions.
So yes it's a bold move. But a logical one. E.ON is facing a new future head on and is structuring itself according where the market is going. It now needs to transform itself in a customer-focussed, innovating, distributed and fleet-footed business. A hard decision has been taken. But the hard work how has to be done.
We’ll be launching new research on Innovation and Energy Services shortly – subscribe to our blogs to keep in touch. To find out more about Innovation and Energy Services please contact Nigel Timperley.

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