On the right path to a clean and fair energy transition

by John Harris, ESMIG President

 

Having been present at the creation of ESMIG back in 2008, it was truly an honour to be elected President at ESMIG’s 10-year anniversary and I thank the members for the confidence placed in me to represent them. Looking back at the past decade and how far the deployment of smart metering, development of new services and business models, and regulatory framework in Europe have advanced, the next years look very auspicious indeed.

The installed base of smart meters in Europe at the end of 2008 was about 39 million units, according to analyst firm Berg Insight. At the end of 2018, that number has increased more than three-fold, to 145 million units, according to the same report. And while benefits such as savings on energy bills and reduced meter reading costs are a welcome economic relief, in the long run, an invaluable benefit will be the transition of our outdated energy system to a smart, demand driven, flexible and greener one.

The amount of data available from these newly installed smart meters also offers a tremendous potential for consumers to modulate their energy behavior, for network operators, DSOs and TSOs to plan and manage the grid, for suppliers to issue accurate bills and for new service providers to innovate and provide services based on real-time data. Innovative customer centric data-driven models and services are starting to appear in Europe but need timely access to granular data to enable real benefits.

The conclusion of the Clean Energy Package for all Europeans in early 2019 provides a much needed impetuous for all member states to transition towards clean energy while placing the consumers at the heart. Thanks to our continuous feedback and advocacy efforts in the past years, there is now a stronger regulatory framework that paves the way for new technologies and services to empower consumers such as a faster roll-out of smart meters, a clear reference on the need to have a feedback mechanism, giving consumers more rights regarding the timely acess to data.

Digitalisation will continue to transform not only the energy supply system, but society as a whole. This trend offers clear benefits such as consumer empowerment, optimisation of the grid and development of new services, but it also presents challenges related to security and privacy.

As we experience disruptive changes throughout the energy industry, ESMIG will continue to work with the European Commission, the member states and the newly elected European Parliament on shaping the framework of the energy transformation by making positive contributions to policy and technical debates.

 

This is an extract of ESMIG's Annual Overview of Activities and Members. Read the full publication here.