As the European energy industry strives to balance its role in enabling a competitive European economy with the production of clean, carbon-neutral energy, Internet of Business deputy editor & publisher Andrew Hobbs hears from eurelectric’s Anna Dimitrova about the organisation’s vision for a smart, sustainable society.
Eurelectric, the association for the European electricity industry, represents 3,500 companies across Europe with an aggregate turnover of €200 billion.
Its remit is equally broad, covering all major issues affecting the sector, from electricity generation and markets, to distribution networks, customers, the environment, and sustainability. Its mission – “powering people” – is suitably grand:
To contribute to the development and competitiveness of the electricity industry, to provide effective representation for the industry in public affairs, and to promote the role of a low-carbon electricity mix in the advancement of society.
Clean, smart energy
Eurelectric’s ambitions are clear, but what are the practical implications?
Anna Dimitrova has helped to drive its work for the last 18 months, as policy advisor on energy union governance and innovation. She explains how the values of economic development, environmental leadership, and social responsibility inform all the changes that eurelectric is hoping to bring about.
“The European electricity industry is fully committed to playing a key role in enabling a competitive European economy, reliably powered by clean, carbon-neutral energy and a smart, energy efficient, and truly sustainable society,” says Dimitrova.
“To have a successful impact, the energy transition has to be led in a responsible way. Therefore, social and environmental sustainability are equally important.
“The EU power sector is keen to maximise the social and environmental value that electricity can have for current and future generations, promoting fair and inclusive development in the light of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development.”
Eurelectric aims to achieve a carbon-neutral electricity mix in Europe well before the middle of the century. More, it hopes to ensure a cost-efficient, reliable supply through an integrated market. And that’s not all: it also aims to develop energy-efficiency on the demand-side, to mitigate climate change.
Innovation is no longer confined to technological improvements, it relates to how businesses find ways for their employees to work better together, how they work with competitors to collaborate and co-create.
What’s next for the energy sector?
There are huge challenges and opportunities ahead for smarter, cleaner energy, she explains. “The energy sector is on the verge of experiencing a vast mass-transformation. For this to happen in a controlled and balanced way – with a fair distribution of benefits to energy customers – all energy actors in today’s energy landscape, as well as emerging entrants, need to learn from each other to ensure a collaborative approach.
“That is in stark contrast to the idea of competition and a zero-sum game. We may see the energy system completely reinvented, in which case it’s in the interests of all experienced parties to jointly build the basis on which they can compete in the future.
“One aspect of this profound infrastructural change is the digitalisation of the electricity system, which would see technologies such as blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) bring in use-cases and optimisation opportunities that were not even suspected previously.”
Internet of Business says
Anna Dimitrova will be bringing eurelectric’s far-reaching ambition and expertise to our Internet of Energy conference in Berlin (6-7 March 2018), where she is chairing the Innovation Den. This startup showcase aims to inspire delegates with a series of elevator pitches from the cutting edge of energy technology.
She says: “I look forward to the pleasure of facilitating a panel discussion between startups that are actively disrupting the energy system and allowing us to imagine a brave new energy order. It will be a challenging task, as I will attempt to show the benefit of enhanced collaboration between established companies and newcomers, for a truly sustained and accelerated transition in the energy system.
“I hope that, following this panel, delegates will be incentivised to dig deeper into the potential benefits of engaging more closely with startups, not just to acquire smart ideas but also to import aspects of startup behaviour in their working cultures.
“Innovation is no longer confined to technological improvements, it relates to how businesses find ways for their employees to work better together, how they work with competitors to collaborate and co-create.”
Coming soon: Our Internet of Energy event will be taking place in Berlin, Germany on 6 & 7 March 2018. Attendees will hear how companies in this sector are harnessing the power of IoT to transform distributed energy resources.