Ener­gy sup­pli­ers rely on dig­i­tal-based prod­ucts and services

The great impor­tance of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion is clear­ly on the agen­da of ener­gy sup­pli­ers — both for the path to cli­mate neu­tral­i­ty and for long-term eco­nom­ic suc­cess. This is shown by the study “Digital@EVU 2021”, which BDEW, VSE, Kear­ney and IMP³ROVE have pub­lished for the fifth time this year. More than 100 ener­gy sup­pli­ers from all stages of the val­ue chain and of all sizes took part in this year’s dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion check, which enables all par­tic­i­pat­ing com­pa­nies to deter­mine their posi­tion in detail and make indi­vid­ual sug­ges­tions for improvement.

The sur­vey results show that util­i­ties expect strong rev­enue growth aver­ag­ing 10 per­cent per year for dig­i­tal-based offer­ings. In par­tic­u­lar, dig­i­tal-based offer­ings in the area of dis­trib­uted gen­er­a­tion, auto­mat­ed elec­tric­i­ty trad­ing, smart city, e‑mobility and ener­gy man­age­ment solu­tions for munic­i­pal­i­ties and indus­tri­al com­pa­nies are seen as levers for growth.

The most impor­tant dig­i­tal-based busi­ness seg­ment over­all is dis­trib­uted gen­er­a­tion, which already gen­er­ates the high­est rev­enue of all the cat­e­gories exam­ined. Aver­age sales growth of 10 to 15 per­cent p.a. is expect­ed in this area. E‑mobility is also one of the strongest sales dri­vers, with the strongest growth of over 15 per­cent p.a. expect­ed on average.

A high lev­el of activ­i­ty in the indus­try is seen in the area of dig­i­tal cus­tomer cen­tric­i­ty: 87 per­cent of com­pa­nies expect new use cas­es here. Dig­i­tal cus­tomer cen­tric­i­ty encom­pass­es var­i­ous dig­i­tal meth­ods and tools that can be used to pro­vide cus­tomers with even bet­ter ser­vice and more indi­vid­u­al­ized offers in the future.

Cloud solu­tions are an impor­tant com­po­nent. Around three quar­ters (77 per cent) of busi­ness­es said they were already using cloud ser­vices, with a fur­ther 17 per cent plan­ning to use them in the next three years.

Ker­stin Andreae, Chair­woman of the BDEW Exec­u­tive Board, explains: “The ener­gy indus­try mas­ters major chal­lenges in the imple­men­ta­tion of the ener­gy tran­si­tion on a dai­ly basis. The study shows that dig­i­tal appli­ca­tions pro­vide impor­tant and cus­tomer-ori­ent­ed solu­tions here. In order to ful­ly lever­age the poten­tial of these dig­i­tal appli­ca­tions, there is also a need for polit­i­cal action. For exam­ple, leg­is­la­tors need to remove exist­ing legal uncer­tain­ties when deal­ing with data and cloud solu­tions and more clear­ly delin­eate lia­bil­i­ty issues in order to accel­er­ate the avail­abil­i­ty and use of data for inno­v­a­tive, cli­mate-friend­ly solutions.”

“It is rec­og­niz­able that com­pa­nies, regard­less of size or val­ue chain lev­el, have embraced the oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion and have set out on the path to a dig­i­tal future. Our study con­tains con­crete case stud­ies of inter­na­tion­al ener­gy sup­pli­ers,” says Horst Drin­gen­berg (Kear­ney).

“Dig­i­tal­iza­tion is a key sup­port­ing fac­tor for the path to cli­mate neu­tral­i­ty — the dig­i­tal net­work­ing of e‑mobility offer­ings region­al­ly, nation­al­ly and inter­na­tion­al­ly is just one exam­ple. Part­ner­ships are cen­tral to suc­cess.” Mar­tin Rup­pert (IMP³ROVE) adds.

“The results show that ener­gy sup­pli­ers are increas­ing­ly using dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies in many places in order to offer cus­tomers even bet­ter ser­vice. Increas­ing decen­tral­i­sa­tion requires more dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and the Coro­na pan­dem­ic has also led to addi­tion­al momen­tum,” says Michael Frank (VSE).

The study Digital@EVU 2021 can be found under the fol­low­ing link: