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Revolutionary spirit of software vendors for energy transition at ENLIT

I recently attended ENLIT in Paris, and it was truly an exhilarating experience! The event gathered numerous innovative companies with smart ideas, demonstrating a revolutionary spirit driving the energy transition. Capturing the essence of this spirit is challenging, but I will try to convey some messages.

When discussing the future of clean energy systems, the pivotal term is flexibility. Both supply and demand-side flexibility are essential for ensuring the reliability of renewable-based energy systems. The expected exponential surge in electricity demand across sectors like mobility and heating will strain the grid. Mere expansion of renewable production sites is insufficient in terms of production flexibility. Vital topics include the decarbonization of thermal assets, projects enhancing nuclear power safety, research on nuclear waste utilization, and advancements in industrial batteries.

Consumers play a crucial role in contributing to flexibility. By consuming electricity in a flexible manner, households and industries gain control over managing their peak consumption. However, challenges such as the lack of infrastructure for unlocking necessary data, insufficient price incentives for consumers, and a scarcity of devices enabling automated management based on external signals, hinder progress.

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Turning to the software segment of the fair, a diverse array of companies supports the energy transition. Established providers like Schneider Electric, ABB, and Siemens focus on grid monitoring and SCADA. Simultaneously, numerous smaller companies and startups explore various aspects of the business, from energy data management to forecasting renewable production and consumption, aggregating and trading flexibilities, to energy portfolio optimization. I had the opportunity to engage with several of them.

In the realm of data management and forecasting, Visplore stands out for its high-performance functionality in processing time series data, including data cleansing, pattern recognition, regression, and powerful time series analysis and visualization. Rebase Energy offers a platform for managing all the data needed for forecasting wind and solar production, along with freeware tools for forecast building. BlueGen.ai assists Distribution System Operators (DSOs) in preparation of customer data for various applications by normalizing datasets, neutralizing personal consumption information, and creating synthetic data for use in machine learning applications.

However, what excited me most were the offerings in the flexibility management and Virtual Power Plant (VPP) software. These companies address the industry’s main concerns about the reliability of supply in networks dominated by wind and solar production, and their response is flexibility management. The concept of aggregating flexibility from multiple prosumers and asset owners, creating bids on ancillary service and balancing markets, and redistributing auction results to individual participants is gaining traction. At ENLIT, companies like Fusebox, CyberGrid, Bamboo Energy, and Navitasoft showcased themselves as pioneers in this space. As they confirmed to me, they see substantial interest from potential customers. A noteworthy mention is Piclo, a UK-based company that created a marketplace for aggregators, asset owners and DSOs for trading flexibility.

I believe that, regardless of the challenges faced by demand response and VPP progress, the enthusiasm of these young companies in contributing to the decarbonization of the world, is inspiring.