Day one of the European Utility Week has come to an end, and I wanted to share some of the overriding themes that have been raised in discussions and presentations I have sat in on.

Firstly and most importantly, is the role that digitizations is playing and will continue to play in the utility sector. The need to gain dynamic, real-time and information rich insights into the management of the grid is becoming more and more critical as alternative energy resources are added to the grid. Real-time control offer the ability to operate smarter, but with increased flexibility. Flexibility is one of the requirements that have been raised as being of increasing importance.

For DSOs, the real value of the digitizations of the grid is going to be driven not by the devices on the grid, but by access to the data generated by them. Clearly, all the data in the world is of no use if you are unable to drive actionable intelligence from it – and this is potentially both a sticking point and an opportunity. Do DSOs and other utilities focus on managing data analytics/interpretation themselves, or do they enter into partnerships with companies who specialize in data management/analysis, while leaving the utility to focus on their core business of supplying energy that is of high quality; ensuring security of supply despite the addition of disruptive, intermittent generation?

We will explore these questions further over the coming days, but it is clear – the traditional utility landscape has been irrevocably changed and the new normal is an exciting opportunity for all.

The European Utility Awards were announced at an awards function this evening and we are pleased to confirm the winners as follows:

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Be on the lookout for updates!We’ll be catching up with the winners tomorrow to provide some feedback on their amazing projects and programmes.