Last week several of the Delta-ee team attended E-World in Essen, the annual German energy industry Congress & trade fair, and we would like to share some of our takeaways from the event.
But firstly, what’s the feather in our cap?
At E-World it was very interesting to learn about EWE’s myEnergyCloud proposition. We learnt that it was at Delta-ee’s European Digital Energy Summit in Berlin in 2017 that EWE first met Tiko, and this ultimately led to a partnership where Swisscom Energy Solutions, owner of Tiko, is EWE’s chosen platform provider for myEnergyCloud. It’s great to see that our Summits can help our clients do business and support the development of ‘new energy’.
The trade fair is a great opportunity to catch up with contacts and companies across the ‘new energy’ spectrum and get good insight into latest development in the German market. Here are some of our headlines:
- 2018 is about action, not talk - generally speaking the mood at E-World was upbeat and a number of companies insisted that 2018 would mark the year when the roll-out of new energy services would really begin. Many companies still struggle to understand what price levels both commercial as well as residential customers would be willing to pay for certain services. However, a good example of the new mood is EWE’s myEnergyCloud platform, which is due to launch next month. The company is already thinking beyond PV/batteries and will be looking to extend the platform to include electrical heating systems and EVs. It was also notable to us is that many companies are aiming to white label their energy services propositions through Stadtwerke. While this seems a perfectly sensible strategy on paper, we expect it might prove quite challenging to make work in practice.
- Smart meters are coming into focus – a number of meter providers planning to get certification for their ‘next generation’ smart meters this year such as Discovergy and Devolo. However, the costs for these meters remain high, and the benefits they can offer customers are questionable. However, they do have the potential to become an important part of the connected home and Delta-ee will be evaluating developments closely.
- Converting the hype into cash for EV recharging – there were many companies showing their charging post technology at E-World, and we saw a variety of different approaches from companies such as Wallbe, Connect, Hubject, Chargepoint and Smartred.
- Power-to-heat may be the next big source of flexibility - as of now most players pursue one of two routes: either to focus on MW- (or even GW-) scale loads (i.e. district heating of large cities; steel, copper or aluminium smelters) as evaluated as part of the MONA 2030 program of the FfE (the German research institute for the power industry) or to seek the aggregation of small scale loads (in the kW-scale range), with hot water tanks combined with immersion heaters being the method of choice to provide a Power-to-Heat coupling, such as ELWA. We believe both approaches can coexist.
- Success will likely come from implicit/empowering business models rather than direct engagement - most players agree that a seamless integration of the services which ideally act completely unnoticed by the customer are likely to be the better business propositions for a long-term success, compared to concepts which require some kind of customer interaction on a day-by-day basis. This is something we have explored in our Flexibility and 'New Energy' Business Model Research.
- Panic over, the race to cooperate has started - clearly the industry has moved beyond the pattern of the smart new start-ups pretending to make the incumbent players obsolete. Instead we see an ever increasing number of cooperations between “new” and “old” players being announced.
In the Congress session on Energy Services, Andy Bradley presented an overview of Delta-ee’s study for the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking: Business Models and Financing Arrangements for the Commercialisation of Stationary Fuel Cells. I presented in the Flexibility Hub of the Trading & Finance stream on the theme "4 steps to success in the flexibility markets".
Contact me if you would like to receive our presentations and to discuss any of the points we have raised above – and consider attending one of our Summits, be it Heat or Digital, in 2018!