There is a sector that consumes 26 per cent of Europe’s energy each year – and yet this significant market is often overlooked by power and utility observers.
Know who it is? The answer is commercial and industrial energy users.
And with Europe targeting a 40 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2030 and 60 per cent by 2040, it is vital that the power consumed by these companies is as low carbon as possible: for the industrial and commercial sector, the much-talked about energy trilemma of security, equity and sustainability has never been so important, because energy is a significant component of their production costs and a key factor of their competitiveness.
Which is why catering for this market will form a key pillar of European Utility Week (EUW) when it opens in Vienna next month.
Now in its fifth year, EUW attracts over 12,000 decision makers and experts from utilities, network operators, vendors, consultants, start-ups and system integrators, and it covers the entire smart energy value chain.
Last year at the event in Amsterdam, it launched Commercial and Industrial Energy User Days and this aspect of the show is due to be bigger and better in Vienna next month.
“We are seeing that the industrial and commercial companies are taking more responsibility for their energy,” says EUW director Paddy Young, who adds that he is also observing a growing involvement of these companies in EUW, “and that is very gratifying. It’s vital to remember that the industrial group is very important.”
Young says that a key player in the backing of this year’s event is IFIEC Europe. The Industrial Federation of Industrial Energy Users represents the interests of these energy users across Europe and has taken a partner role in EUW’s Commercial and Industrial Energy User Days this year.
And Young expects the involvement of the commercial and industrial sector to be even stronger next year when EUW travels for the first time to Paris, a location which he says “works on multiple levels”.
Young says that in future years, “we will start locating the event closer to industry”, and in this respect he explains that Paris is an ideal location. Not only on the doorstep of French industry, it is also easily accessible for the increasing number of power and utility companies from across Europe who are speaking, exhibiting and visiting EUW in increasing numbers every year.
He expects at least 25 per cent of the audience at the 2019 event will be French and adds that “being in France is a platform for the rest of Europe”.
He also explains that Paris was named as the European Capital of Innovation last year by the EU, which he suggests makes it the perfect city for an event that has made its name as a showcase for cutting-edge technologies and thought-leadership.
Young explains that a further reason that the show is being taken to France for the first time is because “we had a lot of lobbying from the French utilities. They wanted us in 2018 but we were committed to Vienna. We have got great support from the French utilities.”
“We are very happy with the level of primary market involvement – the way that utilities are getting involved is very rewarding. We also have more involvement from gas grid operators, and that reflects the way that the market is moving.”
Indeed, Young expects that EUW 2019 will see the growing and evolving role of gas “come to the forefront”. He says that another game-changer for the smart energy sector that we can expect to see hitting home at next year’s event will be the rollout of 5G networks: “That will have huge implications for the industry in terms of data and digitalization processes.”
And EUW next year will also feature another significant milestone: the co-location with POWERGEN Europe, the flagship power generation show. The co-location comes following the acquisition by EUW owner Clarion of fellow events group Pennwell, organisers of the POWERGEN series of events in Europe, Asia, Africa and the US.
Young is excited about the prospect of the co-location, which will offer an end-to-end European energy experience under one roof. “Lots of people in the market are delighted that the two shows are co-located,” he says. “The coming-together is just what the sector needed.”