Digitisation, convergence and the energy of tomorrow

Published on Wednesday, 16 November 2016

To meet the needs of a more sustainable, efficient and intelligent economy we must overcome the challenge of energy infrastructure transformation. Utilities have a key role to play in this process, in addition to innovating their business models. The issue was discussed in Barcelona at European Utility Week (EUW), one of the most important annual events to analyse the energy sector at a continental level.

This year's talks were divided into plenary sessions and focus groups to look at two key topics: Energy Revolution Europe explored what has been defined as an energy revolution for the continent, based on power generation from renewable sources and storage, along with its ensuing challenges, such as the integration of renewables into the network. Intelligent Buildings Europe, on the other hand, hosted a series of meetings to share best practices and discussion on the impact of innovative solutions in the energy industry. The focus groups examined topics such as storage, big data, ICT, smart grids and smart metering, retail markets, and the sustainable development of cities.

Enel’s Head of Global Infrastructure & Networks, Livio Gallo, spoke on behalf of Enel, explaining our company’s activities in the field of digitisation and convergence. “To create the digital ecosystem of the future, we must focus on specific key pillars, such as the Internet of Things, Big Data, and openness to new technologies. For example, we are developing V2G in collaboration with Nissan: a new way to use stored energy in electric vehicles by transforming them into batteries on wheels.”

Gallo then spoke about convergence, a concept tied to the distribution of technologies developed in our networks around the world, while taking into account local needs. Italy is the perfect example, since “we are contributing to the digitisation of the country with electronic meters, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and by using the power grid to distribute broadband connectivity,” explained Gallo. In particular, “our state-of-the-art electronic meters – which we launched just 15 years after our world record in 2001 – allow for the creation of a home automation market, enabling new services and more efficient management of the power grid.”