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21 Jul 2019

Digitalising European Energy

The shift towards a low-carbon economy - especially the deployment of renewable sources of energy and the decentralisation of energy generation - calls for increasing digitalisation of the energy system.

The digital developments (big data, the internet of things, smart grids, smart metering, smart homes and buildings, smart charging solutions for electric vehicles, and the more recent artificial intelligence, 5G and high-performance computing) impact multiple aspects of the European energy landscape.

The greater use of digital technology contributes to using energy more intelligently and efficiently and to optimising transmission, distribution and consumption (energy efficiency). Moreover, the increased use of digital in energy production, transport and distribution is making cybersecurity a key concern, thus calling for appropriate consideration of this challenge in the development of solutions.

The energy sector is a good example of where digital products and services can provide new opportunities for consumers and European companies, thus creating high value-added employment and offering new business opportunities based on technology, research and innovation.

H2020 has put together basic elements in addressing some of these challenges and in putting the basis for the creating of a market for energy services (by notably supporting the creation of partnerships and critical mass in addressing such challenges). However, the establishment of such market and the further creation of innovative solutions and services is still a challenge that calls for an elevation of the European efforts with emphasis (in parallel to research and innovation) on measures aiming at the creation of better conditions for access to knowledge, infrastructure and services deployment.

The urgent need now is to scale up innovative solutions and ensure large-scale deployment of digitally-enabled markets for energy services. This requires an interoperable ecosystem. The European Commission aims to foster and facilitate this nascent development via the plans recently put forward for the next MFF. The ambition is to bridge research and innovation to be supported by Horizon Europe, with investments in smart grids and the operational digital platforms, which will contribute to the digitalisation of energy, under the new CEF2 programme and the large-scale deployment of services envisaged under the Digital Europe Programme.

In the EU funded projects area during European Utility Week, projects that address these challenges will be presented. There will also be discussions and presentations grouped in various sessions, with the aim to discuss common challenges and to map measurable and mature achievements of the projects, which can represent the basis for achieving a functional, fully digitalised, cyber-secure, interoperable and sustainable energy ecosystem and which can be potentially interesting for investors, contributing thus to the ambitious deployment goals of the next MFF.

 

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