An innovation-fuelled outlook emerges from Europe’s utilities

March 27, 2024
Kathleen MacLean

Europe's energy landscape is on the cusp of profound change, driven by a dual imperative: meeting escalating demand and advancing environmental sustainability.

As the industry grapples with these challenges, the recent Future of Utilities Energy Transition Summit in Amsterdam emerged as a pivotal forum for leaders and innovators. 

Here Kathleen Maclean, Marketing Director at, reflects on the event's insights and their implications for the energy industry across Europe. Let’s dive in.

1. Digital experiences are central to the future of utilities

The clarion call for utilities to prioritize customer needs reverberated throughout the event. Disruptive software-backed utilities led the charge in painting the future vision, challenging others to adopt a more user-centric approach. As consumers demand intuitive solutions, utilities face a pivotal moment in redefining the experiences they create for their customers.

2. Innovation and flexibility is the new face of the industry

Innovation emerged as the lifeblood of the industry’s future, transcending from optional to an absolute necessity. Emphasis was on the urgent need for utilities to embrace flexibility as “The new kid on the block” and to build flexibility into their operational toolkit. Many speakers asked whether utilities see themselves as a software provider. If not, they should. 

3. Hot showers, cold beers, charged cars

Amid the complexities of the last few years, the resounding call for simplicity rang clear. Consumers don’t crave energy experiences or need to think too hard about their relationship with energy, they want hot showers and cold beers. 

The challenge lies in streamlining processes and offering seamless solutions that cater to the everyday needs of consumers. With the influx of EVs coming on the grid, let's make sure we deliver charged cars.

4. The goal is clear, how we get there is not

Many utilities talked about legacy systems and networks being not only an obstacle but also an opportunity for transformation. Yes, the importance of increasing solar PV adoption, heating technology, and integrating storage solutions was acknowledged, but what that mix looks like, when, and how it's rolled out are still up for discussion.

5. Decarbonization is a team sport

The path to net-zero emissions requires a united front. Utilities called for a collaborative approach that leverages startup innovation and agility to get to the next level. It’s too big to do it alone.

The future looks bright

One thing was abundantly clear: the future of utilities is teeming with promise. By embracing customer-centricity, innovation, simplicity, and collaboration, utilities can chart a course toward a brighter, more sustainable energy landscape. The time for action is now.

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