EURELECTRIC’s Annual Conference and Convention on 1 & 2 June in Berlin focused on the challenges, opportunities and complexities of shaping and nurturing the transition to a customer-centric energy market. Four distinct sessions over the two day period addressed the following specific themes:
Session 1: Global trends and visions for the European power sector
The “architecture” of energy systems globally and in Europe is undergoing significant change. As new players enter the market and customers start to generate their own power, the pressure and challenge to develop and transform the energy system is immense. Amidst the increasing penetration of decentralised generation, the emergence of smarter grids, energy efficiency offerings and demand response programmes, the power industry itself must continually innovate to meet the evolving needs of the customer. Recognising the need to place customers at the centre of the new retail paradigm, this first session examined the unfolding changes from a political and industry perspective, analysing the long-term vision and implications for the European power sector.
Session 2: Embracing change: a customer-led future
Taking stock of the global downstream trends across geographies and industries, as highlighted in the previous session, this session delved into the issue of how global trends are impacting on the energy world, both in terms of domestic and commercial and industrial customers. How to act with a customer mind-set during this process of transformative change? How are customers’ needs evolving? Will the advent of more active customers and prosumers turn the market upside down? What will the next generation customers look like? Are power companies able to keep pace with customers and tailor their offers? These were some of the issues addressed by political and industry speakers alike.
Session 3: The energy world of tomorrow: smart, innovative and competitive
The vast increase in consumer power brought on by the digital era and the symbiotic evolution of technology is challenging the traditional utility head-on, creating a host of opportunities for customers and utilities alike. The energy world of tomorrow must be smart, innovative and competitive, but what impact will this have on elements of the value chain? What does this mean for DSOs, for retailers, for ICT, for customers? What changes are required in terms of business model innovation? Do we need to break with traditional roles? Conclusions and recommendations of EURELECTRIC’s downstream work on these topics also inputted into the content of this session which was split into three “mini” discussion debates entitled: i) Wholesale Markets and New Customer Solutions: Working together or going Separate ways? ii) Grid Responses to Distributed Energy: What role for DSOs? What role for TSOs? iii) New Trends in Distributed Generation and Storage: Is Self-Generation a Solution for the Future?
Session 4: Powering Europe ahead
This final Q&A session with industry CEOs, politicians and regulators kicked off with an introductory presentation on the intricacies and complexities of sustainable energy supply in a customer centric world, focusing on the main challenges, obstacles, risks and opportunities for the industry today. Conclusions and recommendations of previous sessions were also debated in this regard. The energy transition is the “most demanding and most exciting project in Europe and electricity will be ever more important, pluralistic and volatile in the 50 years to come” was the underlying message of the closing speech. In a world where electricity is key to both people and companies, this offers immense opportunities for the industry to find solutions and business cases.
In addition to the above, the two-day EURELECTRIC event gave prominent place in the programme to the traditional industry and student awards. In addition, a small exhibition and a number of social networking events were organised on the sidelines.
The EURELECTRIC Conference was hosted by BDEW, the German member organisation of our industry association. It was sponsored by Business Associates Accenture, as Gold Sponsor, Pöyry, as Silver Sponsor and Ormazabal, as Bronze sponsor. Supporting partners included FTI-CL Energy and Opower.