Ed’s note: EUW accelerating the clean energy transition


Writing to you from Vienna, the Smart Energy International team are here for the annual European Utility Week conference and exhibition.

The keynote session for the event focused on The Needs of Diversification (Clean Coal, Gas and Renewables) and Security of the Energy Portfolio

Some of the key items covered during the question and answer session with Roman Tobler, Head of Digital Information and IKT-Governance – Wiener Netze GmbH and Chris Peeters, CEO – ELIA Group, included:

  • The concern around who owns all the data being generated from an increasingly connected world, especially given the increased focus on data security due to GDPR. Tobler believes this will be determined very much by the contracts in place and these will need to be appropriately defined with this focus in mind.
  • Cybersecurity as a part of the digital transformation. Peeters says many utilities fend off multiple cyber-attacks a day, saying that most utilities are fairly well equipped to deal with these challenges. He believes that separating the technical infrastructure from the other infrastructure should be undertaken as much as possible. He says that utilising a VPN secure layer which has the ability to verify each connection as a certified credible and trustworthy connection will be key.  The challenge will come with managing and integrating service companies.
  • Behind the meter resources: Is there a minimum size requirement? According to Peeters, this is a question they have discussed in detail. He continues that the minimum size of resources will evolve over time and will be determined by what is commercially and technically viable. The topology we see today is going to look very different in the future. Currently, it may be hard to commercialise some of the additional edge devices, but this will likely change with time.

Ralf Christian, CEO, Energy Management Divison – Siemens

During his keynote speech, Christian spoke about the huge potential for additional electrification – across transport, heating and cooling.

Electricity has huge advantages – and it is vital to utilise efficient technology from which to build use cases.

Christian continued that the German energy system in the future will be even more rich in terms of wind resources, both onshore and offshore. By 2035 production balancing will require significant input and possibly interconnections. Energy consumption is moving more toward electrification and Christian says in order to meet proposed carbon targets, we need to electrify as much as possible.  But this needs to be done intelligently.

Prosumers will increasingly play a role in the decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation of energy. Utilities, however, will also need to keep resilience and reliance top of mind. This where the concept of digital twins is coming into its own. Digital twins allow for simulation of additions to the grid, changes to the topology, or the addition of storage. This full scale dynamic grid simulation will help drive resilience and efficiency.

While there is a lot more to report on after just the first two discussions of the morning, in order to share with you the most up to date news from European Utility Week, I’ll wish you “einen schönen Tag” and ask you to keep checking our site from updates as they happen.

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