According to World Economic Forum (WEF) a digitization of the energy sector can create significant technical and economic benefits. An analysis from WEF and Accenture shows that a digital transition can result in a $3.3 quintillion profit for the OECD countries from 2016-2025. In other words, an astronomical amount of money for the next ten years.
However, wherein lays the benefits? According to World Economic forum the economic benefits will be scattered all over the value chain. The value for the entire electricity industry is estimated to $1.3 quintillion for production-markets/trade-transmissions-distributions-electricity meters-costumers.
But let us focus on a concrete example from Bornholm. The 78-year-old retired Bjarne Hansen from Svaneke has, together with more than 2000 other households participated in the terminated smartgrid-project named EcoGrid-EU. Bjarne has made his heaters disposal for surveillance from the electricity system and has received plenty of data, which has aroused his interest.
- I check the electricity consumption every week or every second week. I can follow the consumption depending on time of day but the most interesting for me is the total bill, Bjarne says.
Bjarne has another house in the village of Rutsker, which has not been a part of the Ecogrid-EU project.
- Unfortunately – he says.
In the beautiful white house with the blue shutters lives his son. In the basement, Bjarne Hansen is looking at the equipment with the electrician Lars Rasmussen from Bornholm’s Energy & Utility. Bjarne has been wondering why his son’s utility use was so enormous. The result of the examination indicates that the heat pump has had great loss of water and therefore has guzzled a lot of power.
- The liquid is in what should be a closed circuit. Which has no surveillance, Lars Rasmussen says
If the house had been a part of the EcoGrid-EU project, Bjarne Hansen and his son would have received a signal telling that the heat pump was dysfunctional. Thus, they could have saved up to 18.000kr
- I have experienced it twice, that the heater pump was dysfunctional. In one of the cases, the customer got a new heat pump due to it being broken, Lars Rasmussen said.
It can be a very good idea for the electricity customers to keep track on how their usage of electricity is developing over time. More than 50 percent of Danish household – including every household on Bornholm – have remote reading meters, so these families are not bound to register the data to their electricity company.
By 2020, all mechanical meters in Denmark would have been replaced, and the data from every household will automatically be delivered through a DataHub to the electricity companies.
By the assistance of digital electricity meters, a huge amount of data will be available for the energy sector. The sector has to utilize this, says trade manager Helle Juhler-Verdoner from the trade community for Intelligent Energy, which is a partnership for utility companies.
- The digitization of the energy and utilities sector is in progress. The remote reading meters for electricity, heat and water is a vital prerequisite for the digitization and it will create opportunities for making it easier, greener and cheaper to deliver products for the customers. By combining data from the infrastructure with new business models, it will create value for the customers and the engaged companies says Helle Juhler-Verdoner.
Developing markets and business models for a more flexible electricity use is a part of the EcoGrid 2.0 project, which involves around 1000 households on Bornholm with controllable heat pumps and electricity heaters. As the electricity production is getting more fluctuating because of windmills and solar cells, the need for controlling the consumption will rise so the entire energy system can be well balanced and effective.
These ambitions, combined with the vision of a carbon free energy supply of Bornholm in 2025, are matching with three global trend emphasised by Bosco Astarloa from World Economic Forum: decarbonization, decentralization and digitization.
- The digitization is happening faster than you think. We must be prepared, says Bosco Astarloa.
Right now there is more than 20 billions apparatuses connected to the internet – including many electricity meters and sensors in houses, business communities etc. In 2020 there will be around 7.4 billion ‘devices’ connected to the internet alone from the electricity industry.
World Economic Forum does not doubt that this tendency towards “The Internet of Me” is continuing and will provide new opportunities to optimize the service of the electricity grid, intelligent control of electricity consumption, home automation and dialogue with the customers. These possible efficiency improvements will rise as a million drops of water unify into a river – in a flow with new realizations.
Bosco Asterloa points out that digitization and the new customer focus will change the electricity sector completely.
- We are witness to a reframing of the creation of value from a centralized conventional production towards the end of the value chain, he says.
In the last link of the value chain Lars Rasmussen from Bornholm’s Energy & Utility is in contact with many of the households on Bornholm to connect them to the digitization, so it will become a success.
- Many of them are a bit afraid of IT, so one of our tasks is to make people comfortable with IT. We need every one to be a part of the development, so they won’t be left behind with all of their equipment at home. We can’t promise the customers that they’ll get economic advantages right now, but together we can share the honor of putting Bornholm on the world map, says Lars Rasmussen which hopes many families will do the same as Bjarne has.
And Bjarne himself… he is of course a part of the the Eco-Grid 2.0 project with both of his estates. The house in Rutsker has some electricity heater included in the project, but not the miserable heat pump because it cannot be controlled. Yet Bjarne will get more data so he can keep an eye on his electricity consumption… including the miserable heat pump.
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