Robert Vinický (E.ON):
"To :agile everyone with a burning idea is invited."
Why is the topic CSR crucial for you and according to which criteria do you choose your CSR activities?
E.ON, as one of the leading players in the international energy market is fully aware, that in order to keep its status on the market much more, than just doing the job well is needed. Therefore an integral part of successful business is our Corporate Social Responsibility.
Responsible behavior means for us to act in accordance with the continuous development of the social and natural environment. This strategy is based on a responsible approach towards our customers, employees, the public and the environment. Because we care about the environment in which we operate we also actively work on increasing the quality of environment in both of its meanings – as our natural and social surrounding. As experts in the field of energy we choose projects related to the topic of sustainable development. We realize our activities mainly in areas such as ecology and nature protection, energy efficiency, renewable energy and educating the public on these topics.
Why did you start running your own accelerator :agile and what can start-ups expect from their participation?
With :agile we started in May 2013 with the main goal to promote innovation trough nurturing new business ideas and bringing them to life using our knowledge from the energy sector. We have launched :agile at first jut internally to stimulate the ideas and expertise of employees within E.ON and to support the launch of their business models. In late October 2014, we widened our focus to include energy-related ideas from outside E.ON as well.To :agile everyone with a burning idea is invited. All ideas are collected through our :agile website www.eon-agile.com/. The best 3-6 ideas are accepted into the program and given support financially and in form of profession coaching, business plan development and sales&marketing know-how. The outcomes out of this phase are presented four times per year during a “Demo Day”, where the projects are being presented to executives from all E.ON Units. Here a decision about the future of the project is taken. With a positive decision the project goes into an up to 1,5 years long incubation phase followed by a rollout of the business.
Have you already had successful projects with :agile?
One of the sucessfull startuj in :agile is Digimondo, which deploys and operates smart and sustainable city networks called LoRa™ wireless networks. LoRa™ stands for Low Power, Long Range. They use this technology to transmit small packets of information via the international LoRaWAN™ standard. Low energy consumption, minimal communications costs and a long range that extends into basement rooms and underground garages make LoRa™ an energy-efficient IoT solution.
What opportunities and innovative leaps is your company expecting in the immediate future?
The development of technologies and regulatory boundary conditions as well as the changes in customer behaviour are main drivers for a sustainable transformation of the energy system. It is still unclear how the future energy system might look like, but we at E.ON assume the following trends:
- Changes in power generation - Increasing additions in renewable capacity, decrease in generation and increase in flexibility for conventional power plants.
- "Decarbonization" of heating and transport - Operation of electrical components which are supplied by increasingly CO2 free generated electricity (e-vehicles, heat pumps)
- Decoupling of generation and consumption - The consumption of electricity will be synchronized with generation to some extent via storage and demand side management.
- Distributed energy - The share of distributed generation will grow, e.g. photovoltaics, microCHP (combined heat and power), which can even serve as reserve margin in times of low renewable electricity production.
- Integrated infrastructure - An integrated infrastructure for information and communication will be the backbone of such a distributed energy system and links together the various components in residential areas, offices and industry.