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Demand Side Response Aggregators – The Race to Profitability

Demand Side Response (DSR) markets are at varying stages of development across Europe. Typically, market access and value streams are characterised by uncertainties inherent to policies and market volatility. The aggregation business has been around for more than 10 years, and everybody has asked the same question: Are aggregators profitable businesses today? Aggregators will definitely be needed at scale – but can they survive financially until it happens?

Profitability

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Is investment an indicator of future success?

The German football team is out of the World Cup. Was it what you expected? Unlikely. Had you predicted this would happen based on the players selected, Joachim Löw’s ability to coach, or the huge investments made to secure a top-tier national squad? Probably not.

As we published the ‘New Energy’ Business Model Service’s latest report, this got me thinking about who is investing in what within ‘New Energy’ and if how much you invest in something is really an indication of future success?

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Caesar’s Decree – Will large utilities survive this gladiatorial battle?

Imagine the energy transition is a great Gladiatorial Games – the largest since the Industrial Revolution. The battle-hardened gladiators of Games past must now prove their mettle against unprecedented obstacles, including:

  • More warriors than ever before
  • Innovative weapons
  • New styles of fighting and
  • An ever-shifting arena

Watching Ridley Scott’s epic ‘Gladiator’ for the umpteenth time, keenly following the plight of Maximus Decimus Meridius (commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, Father to a murdered son and so on), it was this curious thought that occurred to me.

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Heat Pump Business Models – Could they enable market growth in retrofit?

The European heat pump (HP) markets are on the upturn. After half a decade of stagnation, the improving economic situation in many markets and changes in new build regulations have driven significant growth in 2015 and first results for 2016 suggest that this positive trend continued in many markets last year.

Yet, if we compare HP sales to the millions of fossil fuel boilers being sold in Europe every year, the HP market, and in particular the market for hydronic systems for space heating, is still niche. The prime reason for this is a set of barriers regarding the economic proposition for HPs in retrofit situations. Many markets are also facing a lack of installer expertise in & customer information about the technology. Together these issues lead to a lack of installer push and customer pull for the technology in many retrofit markets.

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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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It’s a heating manufacturer. It’s an energy supplier. It’s a modern energy company!

Much like the man of steel himself being confused for what he’s not, heating manufacturers are increasingly being confused for what they used to be (see: boiler manufacturers). That is, they’re increasingly moving away from their traditional manufacture-only role as a result of the broader energy market shift towards distributed energy. As I’ve said before, this shift is resulting in large disruptions in the energy market, with many firms being forced to reconsider their existing business models and re-evaluate their likely future opportunities for value creation. Incumbent heating manufacturers are no different; with their core markets under threat by new entrants they are increasingly searching for a hero to save them. Alas, in the absence of superman, they’ll probably have to save themselves.

 

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