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August 2018


Editorial: Electricity Market Design – the last piece of Europe’s clean energy puzzle

By: Giorgia Concas, General Secretary

During our last Newsletter before everyone fled Brussels for the summer, we discussed the landmark deals of important pillars for the Clean Energy For All Europeans package. The Recast Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, Energy Efficiency Directive, Renewable Energy Directive, as well as the Energy Union Governance Regulation were all agreed upon by the three EU institutions and Europeans could finally start seeing their clean energy future.

These revised laws translate into increased business for electrotechnical service companies, notably in the building sector. With more renovation as well as maintenance work to make buildings more energy efficient and reduce their carbon impact, thousands of local skilled jobs will be created for electrical contractors across Europe. From design, installation, operation and maintenance of building energy management technologies, to electric vehicle chargers, to renewable energy and storage solutions - these jobs will help power a greener economy.

Now, we will take a look at the last piece to complete the Clean Energy EU puzzle – Market Design.

The Recast Directive and Regulation on electricity market design are still under negotiation and will be a crucial complement to the laws already passed.

While the adopted laws contain key measures and objectives to drive the evolution towards a decentralised, cleaner and smarter power system, market design legislation has the potential to create a real business case for all emerging, innovative technologies.

For instance, by setting future rules governing wholesale electricity and grid services markets, these pieces of legislation will determine whether decentralised energy production and energy management solutions can play or remain on the bench in the energy market. As public incentives are limited, revenue streams from these markets will be a key driver for the large-scale deployment of decentralised energy production and energy management solutions in Europe.

Secondly, by setting future requirements for electricity tariff design, EU market design legislation will determine whether active consumers or prosumers will be able to save money on their energy bills, by adapting their consumption and production according to price signals. Again, as direct government incentive schemes are limited, savings opportunities deriving from dynamic tariffs will be a growing driver for consumer demand for smart meters and complementary smart building solutions.

In this next final negotiation phase on market design laws, which is expected to end by December this year, it is crucial that the EU works to provide the framework needed to support all the other Directives and Regulations that have already gone through. Without this, a Clean Energy EU, and the thousands of jobs that go along with it, will be out of reach for European consumers.


Highlight:The KNX Project Platform: More than just a database.  

Gérard Constantin

From design to installation, it is clear that the electrical sector is becoming more and more digitalised and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. This is why at this year’s upcoming Installers’ Summit on 20-21 September in Stockholm, we are doing a deep dive into all things digital and the opportunities and challenges that come with digitalisation. One sectoral player that has always been on the cutting-edge of the digitalisation trend is KNX. We spoke with Casto Cañavate Fernández, Marketing Director at KNX, to discuss their latest projects and what they see for a more digitalised sector.

AIE: KNX recently launched a new platform for smart home and building projects across the world – could you explain what this platform is and its impact so far?

CC: In order to witness the intelligence at first hand and to respond to the strongly increased demand for it, KNX Association launched the “KNX Project Platform”.

The KNX Project Platform contains hundreds of recent KNX projects, ranging from small residential apartments to gigantic buildings, such as football stadiums, universities and airports. Not only is the world of smart homes and buildings brought closer to a wider audience, the manifold usage of a smart infrastructure within a house, which is delivered by KNX, highlights the individual advantages for everybody.

Each project presents its individual highlights, as well as further information, such as the used brands, the transmission media, size of the project, costs, man hours, etc. This allows to fully grasp the impact of the smart installations with KNX in each project, highlighting the full potential in all applications with all its individual benefits, leaving no questions open.

Of even greater importance are construction SMEs – around 99.9% of the European construction is actually composed of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which altogether produce 80% of the construction industry’s output.

AIE: How can this platform be used as a tool for electrical contractors when developing and putting in electrical installations for smart buildings?

CC: The KNX Project Platform also extends the horizon of integrators and/or electrical contractors by showing the unlimited selection of solutions and applications for KNX. The broad range of KNX products, their combination as well as the many hidden features are shown on this platform.

At the same time, it allows them to present themselves towards their audience, as the KNX Project Platform offers a high level of exposure for everybody, who uploaded their projects. The included export function allows the integrator to create a report and promote his/her services beyond the KNX Project Platform.

AIE: What does KNX see for the future of smart buildings in Europe?

CC: Creating business opportunities whilst educating the market about smart homes and buildings – KNX Association follows again its philosophy to bring intelligence to real estates with the KNX Project Platform. But the platform is just one of many ongoing developments of KNX all over the world. Besides offering the highest security standards for home and building automation, KNX Secure based on AES128, as well as the seamless integration of IT-solutions with the building network, KNX is becoming more and more accessible to the existing industry of professionals, but also to a completely new field of professionals. One thing is certain: KNX is already and will still be a part in the future development of the whole industry for smart homes and buildings, in Europe and all over the world.

To learn more about KNX Project Platform, read the official press release here or catch Casto Cañavate Fernández speaking on the exciting panel ‘Making the smart moves for smart buildings – building operations in the digital age’ at the Installers’ Summit on 20-21 September in Stockholm.

Installers’ Summit 2018 Sneak Peek: Digitalisation, AIE’s next steps, the Opera, and more!

Installers' SummitOn the 20-21 September, the not-to-be-missed event of the year for installers in Europe will take place in Stockholm. The Installers’ Summit, put on by AIE and GCP Europe, this event gathers installers from the EU and beyond across the HVAC and electrical sectors to exchange views, discuss important issues for installers, and make sure installers have the tools they need to thrive in a rapidly changing business and technical environment.

With this year’s timely theme of Digitalisation, we will do a deep-dive into all the challenges and opportunities that a digital world has to offer the installer. Hosted by our Swedish members in the beautiful city of Stockholm, we will learn from the innovative digitalisation tools that Sweden has put in place and the country’s future digital plans with keynote speaker Anna Eriksson, Director General of the Swedish Digitalisation Authority. Other exciting case studies of BIM, worker management systems and smart home solutions will be investigated from Sweden and wider Europe from leading companies in digitalisation.

For AIE, this event is not only a chance to learn more about the latest trends in the sector, but is an opportunity to build strategies to take the sector even further. As this is one of the only times a year when AIE can gather all of its members and experts under one roof, we can take advantage of the surplus of expertise to develop the association’s next steps. With days packed full of strategic meetings, task force workshops, and more, we will decide on where we can take AIE over the next three years. With a new Secretariat and big plans to take the association to the next level, AIE’s future will certainly shine bright at this year’s Installers’ Summit.

Of course the Summit is not all work and no play – participants will have the chance to take in some of Stockholm’s most known and fantastic sights and sounds during this exciting event. With once in a lifetime dinners at the Vasa museum, the world’s only preserved seventeenth-century preserved ship, as well as at Stockholm’s impressive Opera, participants can soak in the magnificent views of the Royal Palace while having the chance to network with installers from across Europe and innovators in the sector.

To keep up with all the exciting news of the Installers’ Summit on the 20-12 September, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for live updates, press releases and more!

To learn more about the Installers’ Summit and for the full program, visit the event webpage here.

Shining a light on small-scale PV O&M

PV O&MSolar PV is one of the technologies European electrotechnical service companies have been increasingly involved with – and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. It is predicted that by 2030 year over 150,000 local European jobs will be created in small-scale solar project development, installation and operation. These jobs will become increasingly important as Europe moves forward into a clean energy system and more and more energy prosumers contribute to this system..

Up until a few years ago, generous incentive schemes created a ‘fit and forget’ business model, with professionals focusing on rushing to get a project developed and connected to the grid then move quickly to the next one.

Now, the sector has reached a certain maturity and there has been an increase in the number of companies that focus on the optimization of performance and the delivery of services even after PV projects have been built and connected to the grid. With this new mindset, the PV industry have gathered together under a SolarPower Europe initiative and have recently developed best practice recommendations and set a benchmark for high-quality project operation and maintenance (O&M).

Typically, the focus has been on large utility-scale projects. However, as smaller investors and PV consumers care more and more about the performance of their PV systems, the solar industry is now in the process of defining the specific needs of small-scale project operation and maintenance.

AIE has been actively involved in developing this new set of best practices for small-scale PV systems, and on the 3 September we will hold an exclusive webinar for the PV experts in AIE’s membership to discuss with the CEO of autarco Dan Horan, a leading PV O&M company in Europe, the installers perspective and recommendations for effective O&M for small-scale solar. Using the expertise of electrical contractors on the ground, this discussion will be a key facet to building inclusive and sustainable O&M best practices for Europe.

To learn more about PV O&M or about the Webinar, please contact Giorgia Concas.

Read the current version of SolarPower Europe’s Operations & Maintenance Best Practices Guidelines here.

SMARTEL project reaches key milestone

Electrical SafetyThe electrical sector is moving fast, with new technologies being rolled out at unprecedented speed every day. At AIE, we have therefore made it a priority to complement today’s electricians’ technical capabilities and skills to adapt to an increasingly digital electricity system and world. This is not only important to create more skilled local jobs across Europe, but also to make our electricity system safer and more efficient.

This is why AIE has been involved in the EU co-funded project SMARTEL since 2016. This project aims to offer knowledge about home automation and smart meters to electricians as well as to contribute to the increased use of on-line learning in the sector.

After several months of work, the project consortium made available this July a comprehensive MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) comprised of several modules in English about smart meters and home automation. With the release of this MOOC, the objective was to have experts test the modules and recommend points for improvement.

After this pilot phase, we will take into account all of the experts’ comments in order to offer a final MOOC this fall, whose content will be partially translated into several languages.

The pilot MOOC is still available here if you would like to test it and it is still possible to provide your comments here.

Charging-up Europe’s energy storage market – what does this mean for installers?

STUL EventStorage solutions are an important tool to power other energy innovations in homes such as rooftop solar and electric vehicles – and the demand for electrical contractors to install such solutions has been increasing steadily over the past years.

The battery storage market is growing globally – according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the global storage market is forecasted to grow at least $250 billion by 2040. Europe’s storage market is currently lagging behind the rest of the world, although this trend is being reversed and is set to change in the next few years. A recent IRENA report revealed that in some EU countries, the price of storage has fallen over 60% since 2014 – and these prices are expected to drop another 50-60% by 2030. Leading Europe’s storage surge is Germany, with over 100,000 storage systems already installed in residential buildings.

Electrical contractors will be an important player in designing, installing, and maintaining storage systems to power more and more smart homes across Europe. Yet, for them the storage market is still quite a new phenomenon and information about storage solutions must be made available for them to fulfill a growing consumer demand. On the 6 September, AIE will be part of an exclusive webinar organised by SolarPower Europe and EuPD to unveil the results of recent market analyses and look at storage through the eyes of the installers.

To learn more about storage and the installers’ role, register for the exclusive webinar “The European Energy Storage Market: Through the Eyes of the Installers” here.


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For over 60 years, the European Association for Electrical Contractors (AIE) has represented the interests of electrical contractors from 15 different countries at the EU-level. The AIE works as a network to exchange information and best practices for electrical contractors between its members and to inform policy makers to ensure all electricity is installed safely and efficiently in Europe.

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