Blockchain Technology – a Threat to Distribution Network Operators? 

Are distribution network operators in Europe threatened by a potential application of blockchain technology in the energy sector? This seems to be the pressing question that was at least partially the motivation for a recent report on blockchain in the energy sector by eurelectric, which is the European association of the distribution grid operators. From our perspective, this report reads like an attempt by the industry to reassure itself that its core business model – asset ownership and operation of the electricity networks – is not threatened by blockchain. While this might be true for asset ownership, this is different in the case of network operation.

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What Energy Utilities can learn from Kodak when it comes to digitalization

Will digitalization help utilities sustain the core business model of selling electricity or will digitalization result in more approaches like FreshEnergy that use electricity consumption as a vehicle to access new revenue streams, which might ultimately result in zero costs for energy consumption? If the latter is the case, then utilities should take a closer look at Kodak and secure to not make the same mistakes. Kodak had the chance to lead the digital camera market, but did refuse to do so to protect its established products. Will utilities make the same mistake? 

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Digital Transformation of Energy Utilities – Shifting Gears?  

Utilities’ investment in digitalization is increasing but still follows an asset-based approach. Investment in software, however, seems to be lagging behind with no increase in budget over the last three years. With respect to new software solutions, like AI, the energy sector currently comes in last compared to other sectors and will do so in the future according to the survey by BCG quoted in this post. Nevertheless, there are currently many solutions based on AI, machine learning or other digital approaches available to the utilities. Which leaves us with the question whether utilities will pick up the challenge to adopt these new technologies like AI and apply them to their core-business?

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