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The Business of Being an Aggregator

We’re at a tipping point in how electricity systems are balanced. Traditionally, supply and demand have been matched by turning large power plants up and down, with the occasional very large industrial customer, like a steel works, containing its demand to help balance the system. But over the last ten years we’ve seen a new breed of businesses – aggregators – bringing together hundreds and thousands of distributed assets to help the electricity systems stay balanced.

We’ve seen more and more aggregators emerging as markets have opened to distributed portfolios, with more than 70 appearing across Europe. Delta-ee Director Jon Slowe suggests “we are past the tipping point of this being a distinct sector in the energy market and there will be lots more action and development over the next years”.

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Energy customer service: transition to a digital, customer-focussed model

Poor customer service is one of the big drivers of churn in energy retail. It’s not difficult to recall a time when you’ve felt underwhelmed when querying an inaccurate electricity bill, when trying to understand a change in payment plan or when changing account after moving home.

But under the surface, there’s a fair amount of innovation happening to address customer pain points, particularly in the digital space. Our research points to a transition away from the traditional approach centred around operational efficiency towards a customer-first approach.

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House of the rising sonnen: storage, autarky and new business models

To paraphrase the work of The Animals, new energy market players are set to be the ruin of many a traditional energy value chain. Many distributed energy players, like Sonnen, are on the rise. These players are starting to redefine the energy market, generating value through the supply of energy services and autarky amongst end-users. We’ve found that many firms are scrambling to keep up with this shift to new distributed energy business models, and risk being left in the dark as the sun sets on the old energy market paradigm.

Spend your life in energy autarky

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New business models are the key to utilities’ continued relevance in the 21st century

The West’s energy industry is coming under pressure to change and innovate at an increasingly frantic pace on account of a whole range of drivers that interact with each other in complex, unpredictable ways.  Policy change, IT & technological developments, growing customer power, vertical market convergence and geopolitical factors are all playing a part. Energy companies know they have to react but, caught in the headlights of oncoming crisis, are freezing when decisive action is most needed.

 
However, we at Delta-ee believe that all is not lost; indeed, we believe that utilities will still have a critical role to play in the 21st Century. That is, provided they reinvent themselves now as credible energy services businesses and learn to depend less on their legacy, commodity-only business models. As part of our recent Energy Services Innovation study, Delta-ee investigated 107 global innovating energy service companies and identified 11 disruptive business models that can keep energy companies relevant in the 21st Century. We look to explore 4 of these in more detail in our upcoming Utility Week article.

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Households MADE to deliver the energy transition

Managing domestic energy assets for the benefit of households and networks

Homes of the future will increasingly have multiple energy assets such as electric vehicles (EVs), , solar PV and battery storage systems. The MADE (Multi Asset Demand Execution) project is all about understanding how to manage these multiple energy assets in a way that is both beneficial to the homeowner and the energy networks.

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The epic battle for new energy dominance

We often get asked questions like “Do you think Amazon will acquire an energy supplier?”, “What will BMW’s EV charging strategy be?” and “Are the oil majors really interested in new energy? and we have a lot to say about each of them. However, given the pace at which the energy transition is happening – with opportunistic acquisitions, product launches and partnerships springing up in places that would have seemed unthinkable a year or two ago - probably the only answer we can give to these questions with absolute certainty right now is to “expect the unexpected”. We certainly try to.

Having said that, Europe’s oil majors would currently appear to be best placed in the battle to capture the new energy customer. Given that we recently conducted a comprehensive review of the activities of new market entrants in this space – we can say that with confidence. The oil majors have a combination of strategic need and financial strength which is unmatched at this moment in time. As such, we have little doubt that the likes of Shell and Total will continue to be highly active as the new energy market develops, and we fully expect some of their rivals (BP, Eni, etc.) to increase their activity too.

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Delta-ee Bloggers

Administrator
84 posts
Andy Bradley
13 posts
Stephen Harkin
6 posts
Jennifer Arran
13 posts
Jon Slowe
19 posts
Lindsay Sugden
10 posts
Steven Ashurst
14 posts
Lukas Bergmann
13 posts
John Murray
15 posts
Nigel Timperley
2 posts

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