Robbert-Jan Stegeman

Robbert-Jan Stegeman

Title and Abstract

The Connected Utility: Ensuring Perfect Energy in 2025 (and now)
How to (em-)Power Customers in a Smart Grid enabled world

In a very fast digitizing world, with consumers and businesses in the digital driving seat, Utilities seek for quick answers for fundamental questions regarding the energy transition. We quickly evolve from Internet-of-Things towards the Internet-of-Everything (comprising the Internet-of-People, Things, Places and Information), which imposes enormous challenges in connecting consumers, business and utilities into one large ecosystem and full-scale IT/OT integration.

In the meantime, it is not a question if the energy transition will come, but merely a question when it will hit the fan. We currently see the “hockeystick” regarding customer driven energy transition subjects like EV, renewable integration and heat pumps. A fundamental change in energy generation, distribution and usage will be inescapable. The smart grid plays an important role in the transition, but is only a facilitating part of the jigsaw. Many barriers need to be removed, and most of them will not be of technological nature. Social acceptance, regulatory regimes, new business models and consumer behavior will prove to be far more crucial than most utilities seem to realize. Alliander uses innovations to interact with all relevant stakeholders to shape the inevitable new energy world. A critical mind shift is required with all of us. That is the way forward to ensure perfect energy, including a new market model, based on more localized energy markets, incurring new business and market models.

In this new era, information is seen as the “New Crude Oil of the Future”. Mastering the fast-evolving digital paradigms and understanding customer behavior are believed to be the two most important elements in the transformation utilities have to make. And given the speed of the digital transformation, utilities cannot sit back and relax…

Therefore, the question is how Utilities and a DSO like Alliander not only survive, but merely thrive this transformation. Not only in the future, but today.

This keynote addresses the energy transition, the challenges this imposes for customers, utilities, regulators and specifically DSOs. It covers the way Alliander foresees how to tackle these challenges, and how innovation is used to facilitate the already on-going transformation of the energy market. It presents that a smart grid or a large-scale roll out of smart meters is by far not sufficient to enable the energy transition with all sorts of new business models. It addresses the vast dependency on large-scale information processing, and the requirement for a sound digital business strategy for that.