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IO.Energy: Sixty organisations to launch eight projects to help shape the energy landscape of the future
- In February 2019, Belgium’s system operators teamed up to launch a collaborative innovation initiative called IO.Energy (Internet of Energy).
- The first phase of the project (ideation) was wrapped up this Monday, 24 June.
- Eight use cases were selected by a panel of academics.
- These new ideas will now be tested in the IO.Energy ecosystem to demonstrate their relevance and their added value for consumers.
In recent months, 60 companies, government agencies and universities have been developing new ideas and theories designed to really put consumers at the very heart of the energy landscape of the future. They have been doing so as part of IO.Energy, a project launched by Belgian system operators Elia, Fluvius, ORES, RESA and Sibelga. The eight selected use cases will be fleshed out further and tested in the months ahead. In time, one or more of these use cases may mature into real products or services with the potential to truly shake up the energy landscape.
Almost 150 people gathered at the Flagey cultural venue this Monday, 24 June to attend the wrap event for IO.Energy’s ‘ideation’ phase, the second major get-together for this project. IO.Energy is a project aiming to develop new services through exchanges of data between all energy market players. The focus is on end users, who will be able to tailor their generation and consumption to their current needs using a digital communication platform. IO.Energy will provide more flexible capacity, thereby offering additional responses to the issues thrown up by the increasingly intermittent nature of generation sources (given the rise in renewable energy sources).
The project was born of a joint initiative launched by Belgium’s system operators, sparked by a shared desire to turn the challenges posed by the energy transition into opportunities. This can only be achieved if a considerable number of businesses and other organisations work together to develop new services that meet consumers’ requirements. The ideation phase was a resounding success, and the high level of participation at this early stage is a very promising sign for the rest of the project.
Eight ideas through to the next stage
On 29 May, all the partners pitched their new ideas and theories to an independent panel of specialists consisting of four academics and one independent expert. After hearing and assessing the pitches for the 12 use cases, the panel concluded that eight of them were ready and sufficiently developed to progress to the next stage. The other four will continue to be used as input for the project.
Here are the eight use cases and their key proposals:
- ENWAVE – Unlocking the energy potential of commercial real estate
- SOTERIA – Your boiler has energy to power the grid
- CO-SUSTAIN – Be part of an energy community, made for you, in one click
- FLEXITY – Delivering a ‘plug and play’ smart-energy home
- SUNSHARE – Operating an energy community has never been so easy
- MAKA – Reducing your energy consumption is fun!
- COMMUNITY FORECASTER – Sunny or windy? You consume energy when needed
- CHECKMYFLEX – Define your comfort level – we’ll take care of the rest.
The event on 24 June, which was attended by the Federal Energy Minister Marie Christine Marghem, marked the end of this initial phase of the project. The sandboxing phase can now get under way. This stage will involve testing the use cases with a view to understanding and overcoming the potential obstacles to their implementation. It will also focus on the technologies used and the value created. Once the technologies’ potential has been proven and the innovations’ value to consumers has been demonstrated, large-scale testing will begin. This entails giving energy-service providers access to several new services of this type under special conditions. Once the technology is fully tried and tested, the relevant regulations will need to be amended and market traction will have to be established. When all of this has been done, the new energy service will be rolled out.
I have been following this project closely since its launch at the start of the year. It is the only initiative of its kind in Europe, showing just how proactive the players on the Belgian energy market are. The project has gained broad support from companies, start-ups, public-sector organisations and universities, which reflects the importance of the issues it seeks to address. It will break new ground at European level. Moreover, it dovetails perfectly with the energy trends of recent years. I am delighted that the ideation phase has been such a success.