Flexibility is Key at IDC Energy Insights' Pan-European Utilities Executive Summit
This report summarizes the key themes and discussion points from the IDC Energy Insights hosted Pan-European Utilities Executive Summit held from March 4 to 5, 2013, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Over the course of the two-day event, around 40 delegates from 16 European countries tackled some of the biggest issues facing utilities, through presentations, panel discussions, and workshops. IDC Energy Insights finds that:
In 2013, European utilities recognize that flexibility will be key to their ability to remain profitable in tomorrow's energy markets.
Major challenges identified include regulatory uncertainty, tough economic conditions, and growing competition, including from new entrants, as well as added pressures resulting from increasing deployment of distributed and intermittent generation.
To address these issues, utilities are prioritizing operating cost efficiencies, but also actively looking for new, innovative approaches to enhance customer services and relationships, prepare the grid to be able to integrate distributed generation (DER), and gain value from new sources of data that are becoming available.
There is increasing pressure to align IT with business performance putting cost efficiencies high up the agenda. However, discussions around IT innovation to introduce flexibility and enable new business models were a feature of the conference. A survey of delegates revealed that around 20% of the IT budget is being allocated to support business innovation. The topic of OT and IT integration generated much discussion, but opinions remain divided on how this should be achieved.
The four pillars of ICT transformation (cloud, mobility, Big Data and analytics, and social business) have attracted varying levels of interest among utilities, with analytics and mobility already a high priority, but cloud and social business still predominantly seen as something for the future.