With disruptions in the traditional business models of other sectors, such as accommodation and transport through Airbnb and Uber, customers are increasingly expecting the same level of convenience and tailored service from their utilities. New non-traditional players are entering the energy industry, to deliver energy services directly to customers, such as self-generation, energy storage, and energy management solutions. The conventional customer/utility relationship is being disrupted. With the market competition heating up and the need to meet evolving customer expectations, utilities will find it difficult to maintain their position in the sector and remain profitable without innovation.
The path forward is not to independently navigate energy sector transformation, but to collaborate with other players to fulfill common sector interests. The changes happening in the electricity sector are complex, interdependent and occurring at an unprecedented rate. As a result, true innovation cannot happen through the siloed actions of each player but requires coordination across the entire system – in policy, regulation, infrastructure, operations, customer relationships and business models.
The AEC as a neutral third party has acted as a catalyst to spur collaborative efforts and projects in the energy sector in Ontario. Tim Gibson, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Energy Management from Siemens Canada Limited says, “There is no one in Canada who can pull together all the key players and drive collaboration in the energy industry like the MaRS AEC. I valued the AEC’s foresight and scenario planning exercise where energy leaders from around the province were brought together to help roadmap where the electrical energy sector is likely headed. These workshops opened a lot of eyes and helped drive consensus on what needs to be done in a time of major industry disruption.”
Siemens and AEC have released a white paper on collaboration in the energy sector, titled Collaborate to Innovate: Realizing the innovation potential of Canada’s electricity system through cross-sector collaboration. This new report discusses the challenges being faced by the electricity sector in Canada and elsewhere and identifies steps that can be taken to create an environment of collaboration in the sector. To read more check out the report here.
Part of MaRS Discovery District, the Advanced Energy Centre (AEC) is a public-private partnership with the mission of fostering the adoption of innovative energy technologies in Ontario and Canada, and leveraging those successes and experiences into international markets. Its role is to actively develop partnerships that will help bring these technologies to global markets. Within Canada, the AEC works to identify and remove systemic barriers to the adoption of energy innovation.
Siemens Canada is a leading technology partner that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, and reliability for more than 100 years. Siemens’ expertise in the fields of electrification, automation, and digitalization helps make real what matters to Canada, delivering solutions for sustainable energy, intelligent infrastructure, healthcare and the future of manufacturing. The company has approximately 5,000 employees, 44 offices and 15 production facilities from coast-to-coast. Sales for Siemens Canada in fiscal 2016 (ended September 30), were $3.1 billion CAD. Further information is available at www.siemens.ca