Green tech, Clean tech... Can energy be green?
Stéphane Quéré: The energy world has no choice but to be green! Remember that ENGIE has just redefined its strategy and is now positioned as a service provider for the transition to zero carbon for its city, industrial and private customers.
Our customers have always wanted to control their energy consumption. Now, they also want to control the way their energy is produced, and of course want to use as much renewable energy as possible. While we’re installing more and more renewable and decentralized energy production units, solar panels and wind turbines, the common denominator among all these sources of renewable energy is that it is intermittent. They work when the sun is shining or when there is wind.
It takes technology for this new green energy model to work: for storage, the ability to model production and the analysis and application of data are fundamental.
We launched a platform a few years ago that allows us understand, in real time, what is happening on all our wind, solar and hydraulic plants around the world. In addition to the possibility of directly supervising energy production, data analysis gives us the opportunity to develop new offers, improve performance, detect if wind turbines are not entirely in the axis of the wind, etc.
Innovation and open innovation to better integrate renewable energy into our mix
Stéphane Quéré: To tame renewables and integrate them into our modes of consumption, using of data is key. ENGIE has just bought Tiko, a company that brings us an essential brick for this solution. Tiko connects to appliances in the house: water heaters, heat pumps... and of course solar panels and battery. Tiko helps promote using energy produced on-site, for example by automatically turning off certain appliances when production isn‘t sufficient, without compromising on comfort.
In the near future, if you produce more energy than you consume (either at a specific moment or on a regular basis) it will make sense economically for you to sell it to your neighbor. To do this you will need equipment like Tiko – but you will also need the blockchain to certify transactions. We are not very far from it.
ENGIE has created a startup, TEO (The Energy Origin), which traces the path of green energy between an energy source and a customer. We have also invested in another startup, Blockchain Studio, which creates protocols to make blockchain usage easier, cheaper and less energy intensive.@
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