As a Distribution System Operator (DSO) in the Flemish Region of Belgium, Fluvius plays a role of strategic importance. With the growing energy demand and proliferation of new energy technology, DSOs require significantly more resilience to withstand upcoming disruptions. The energy system-wide approach towards building resilience aims to develop monitoring and prevention procedures. Smart meter data analytics opens a new avenue for the use of event management, enabling decision-makers to detect anomalous events in real-time and respond within a short time frame. Although some events strike either immediately or after a short warning, other events are anticipated well in advance. It is suggested that the danger of growing peak consumption will be combatted with demand management tools, which involve the consumer's engagement and more efficient use of technology. On the one hand, opting for dynamic pricing can leverage the consumer's potential to change consumption behaviour and decrease the harmful spike peak for the power infrastructure. On the other hand, electricity storage can decrease congestion in the power grids and support more active adoption of renewable technology. The systematic approach towards disruptions can build Fluvius' resilience, so that the organisation can bounce back with low impact on performance.
This work deals with innovative business models of existing companies that offer energy services at the edges of distribution grids. Our mapping is based on information on over 20 businesses collected by the Horizon 2020 project STORY and other projects participating in the EU’s BRIDGE initiative using a reporting template that simplifies and extends the well known business model canvas by Osterwalder and Pigneur (2010). Our method is therefore compatible to the mapping that has been done e.g. by Burger and Luke (2016), who have mapped business models for demand response, for solar PV and for storage systems, but differs in the choice of archetypical mapping dimensions.
Eneco Group, the second largest utility company in the Netherlands, launched a smart thermostat, Toon, that served as a platform for energy management services. Toon quickly became the gold standard for smart homes in the Netherlands. In January 2017, top management needed to discuss the strategic priorities to keep Toon’s lead and hold off the competition.
This is part of a case series. The aim of this three part teaching case is to stimulate discussion on how companies can adopt new business models to survive sector-wide transitions by taking the perspective of energy network companies which often operate under a highly regulated environment.
The energy transition is changing the energy ecosystem. Until recently, energy production was mostly centralised, with relatively few large power plants connected to the transmission system operated by transmission system operators (TSOs). Regulatory changes to accommodate the integration of renewable energy initially focused on the transmission aspect, which resulted in a significant transformation of the TSOs, while leaving the distribution system operator (DSO) landscape virtually unaffected. In recent years, however, due in part to advances in renewable energy technology, power generation and distribution have become more decentralised. DSOs now find themselves at the centre of change, operating the grid which all these new players – producers and prosumers – want to connect to and use. The challenge is for DSOs to enable and facilitate change, rather than becoming a bottleneck. In 2018 the DSO Chair organised two workshops to discuss topical issues facing the future of DSOs: (1) energy communities and (2) regulatory sandboxes. Despite being selected independently of each other, these two topics turned out to be interrelated.
The electricity landscape is in a state of flux, not least due to the increasing integration of renewable energy sources and distributed generation. This has sparked growing interest in energy storage, arguably an important part of the renewable energy mix. How can energy storage be used and integrated into existing power systems, in both residential and industrial environments? This is the key question the STORY project aims to address. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, STORY is a five-year research project analysing new energy storage technologies and their benefits. It features six demonstration case studies and involves 18 partner institutions in seven European countries. One of these partner institutions is Vlerick Business School. In a context where several different actors can use storage assets, it is essential to identify business models and regulation that will make energy storage sustainable, which is exactly where our expertise lies. We have taken the lead on the business cases supporting the rollout of electricity storage at the distribution level of the grid; more specifically, on those business cases revolving around the challenges of storage deployment and the interaction between the business models and the enabling market and regulatory context.
Raising public awareness and trust in transmission infrastructure development is one of the key current challenges facing Transmission System Operators (TSOs) and other project developers. The result can be costly delays. Fine-tuning the regulatory toolbox that National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) apply to incentivise TSOs can be part of the solution. The toolbox consists of cost-plus or rate of return regulation, price or revenue cap regulation, and output regulation. Each of these tools has strengths and limitations in terms of biases. In this brief, we identify the biases that are specific to stakeholder engagement activities that TSOs undertake to increase the public awareness and trust. Under the cost-plus approach, NRAs are biased towards the least controversial activity. Thus, the TSOs will try to anticipate the costs that will be more easily approved by the regulator. However, these least controversial activities may not be the most effective. Under the price/revenue cap, TSOs can be biased towards prioritising activities that result in the highest direct improvement of cost efficiency. They can also be biased in selecting the least controversial activities rather than the most cost-effective ones, simply because it can adversely affect their reputation and their engagement with the regulator. Under output regulation, independent experts can help the regulator to assess and challenge the stakeholder engagement activities undertaken by a TSO. This approach, however, requires a higher level of sophistication and complexity so that it can only be managed properly by a regulatory agency with sufficient resources and skills.
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