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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European utilities focus on regulated business models – a good strategy?

The sudden decision that Peter Terium, the CEO of Innogy, will leave the company points at an ongoing struggle in the utility sector: The shift to regulated business models that are combined with retail businesses requires high capital investments and increases the vulnerability of the company against increasing competition and dropping margins in the retail sector. How will utilities adapt to this challenge? Will they make use of digitalization to increase their earnings from retail business? We discuss data from the IEA and results of a recent survey among European retailers to find some answers to these questions. 

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Disruptive innovation in the energy sector – definition & application to renewables

Disruptive innovations are supposed to destroy established business models in different markets. For the energy sector, the debate is heating up to which extend certain technologies (e.g. renewables or battery storage) & new digital applications (e.g. AI or blockchain) might disrupt the business case of energy utilities. With this post we provide a basis for this discussion. We built on the definition of disruptive innovation by Christensen and apply this theory to renewables to show that they are actually disruptive for the incumbent energy businesses. 

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Where do the DSOs in Europe see their future? Survey results discussed

Last year the Vlerick Business School published a survey among 108 executives from DSOs that represent the majority of all customers in Europe. In the survey, 72% of the DSOs mentioned that they are planning to transform their business to a service-based company. But what does that mean? Three services are discussed in this blog post: Data Hubs, active control of decentralized generation/demand response and balancing responsibility

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Asset- vs. Service-based Business Models – Where Lies The Future For Utilities?

In Germany, E.on and RWE (innogy) separated their core business units into two different companies and it became inherent that utilities have to change their business strategy to survive in a future distributed energy system. Now, what do the two strategies of Innogy and E.on tell us about the future of the utility business in general? In the following we will present to you different business models that have been introduced by PWC (2014). We will try to show how the current strategies of E.on and Innogy fit into this framework.

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The Future Business Model for Energy Utilities in the US: Quo vadis?

Decentralization, decarbonization and digitalization drive incumbent utilities to change their strategies and business models. But how could the future business model of a utility in the US look like? In this post we pick up this question and dive deeper into the current discussion in the US. 

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Digital platforms in the energy sector – definition & first applications

Digital platforms are on the rise in many sectors. Currently, the question is raised which role digital platforms could play in the energy sector, especially in distributed systems based on renewable energies.  However, there seems to be no clear understanding of what a platform or a platform market acually is. Therefore, we provide a definition of platforms and platform markets and discuss some potential applications of these in the energy sector.

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How Third Parties pushed E.ON & RWE in Germany to change strategies

E.on and RWE, two of the largest European utilities, significantly changed their strategies in 2016: Both separated their renewable generation business from conventional generation in two independent entities. In this post we discuss the key driver that forced E.on and RWE to change strategies: Competition from third parties that operate renewable generation.   

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The Future of DSOs: Digital Platform Provider vs. pure Asset Ownership

With digitalization and increasing shares of renewables on the distribution grid level the question is raised whether the distribution network operator should be assigned with the task to facilitate regional market platforms for digital and physical transactions on a regional scale. We discuss concepts from New York and California and their potential implications for regulation of the network operators in the US and Europe. 

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Cleantech startups: German utilities bridging the valley of death?

Cleantech startups suffered from several challenges in the past. Most prominently, many startups failed to acquire enough venture capital for a market rollout. This is currently changing in Germany. We discuss in this post what exatly is changing in Germany and how three factors together increase the chances of cleantech startups to succeed in the German energy market. 

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