Power-Gen Europe, held in Cologne last week, has for decades been an annual ‘must attend’ fixture for the conventional power generation industry. Everyone in the sector has been there, and the big centralised power players competed at a monumental scale for stand size, profile and ‘wow factor’.
Those days are gone now.
Since our clients among the distributed energy and CHP sector have been well represented at the margins of past events, alongside the centralised ‘heavy hitters’, Delta-ee has been attending the event for a few years and did so this year also. But this time, on Power-Gen’s 25th anniversary, we noticed some big changes which reflect the profound changes going on in the wider market – the now irreversible energy market transition.
Based on the smaller number of attendees and exhibitors compared to previous years, and to other contemporary energy industry events [e.g. Intersolar, ISH (for the building heating industries)], the sector is - at best – also in a transition. This is reflected in Power-Gen’s rebranding for next year, where it will call itself ‘Electrify Europe’.
While this new name doesn’t properly capture the changes taking place (‘New Energy Europe’ would be a better name), we think the rebrand is overdue. The conventional power generation industry needs to adjust to the realities and needs of the new energy markets which are fast emerging in Europe.
Here are some observations from the show which illustrate these changes.
Centralised to decentralised
The heavy hitters simply aren’t at the event anymore, so the (still) well represented (and more confident) distributed energy players like MAN, Viessmann and Kawasaki, represent a much higher proportion of the overall show. Perhaps this is because of market expectations; the figure below (presented by Delta-ee at the Power-Gen conference) shows our market growth outlook for distributed gas engine deployment in Europe, based mainly on decentralised CHP, flexibility and renewable applications.
Carbon intensive to low carbon
According to the event organiser, 20% of exhibitors were representing the renewable sector. Put those alongside the distributed energy CHP players also present and this must have been the ‘lowest carbon’ representation at the Power-Gen show ever.
Upstream value to downstream value – and commodity sales to service-oriented
In the accompanying Power-Gen conference – where Delta-ee contributed to 2 Keynote Panels, the key streams included such themes as ‘Mastering the Digital Era’ and ‘Integration & Energy Storage’. Both streams touched on how energy system value will continue to shift from generation towards customer supply – and in particular how (and where) the biggest value pools in the future will likely sit. In our view, this is well downstream in the form of new energy service offerings for customers instead of ever lower margin kWh supply.
We think it’s absolutely right for this event to evolve in line with macro trends that are now well in train – or else it simply won’t survive. The much bigger question is which industry players can successfully develop new business models and customer services quickly enough to ensure they are still around to attend the show in 10 years’ time.
Get in touch with our Distributed Power team to discuss any of the above and more.