New utility horizons

Most of you, especially in Europe, will be familiar with H2020. Horizon 2020 is the largest ever EU Research and Innovation program, with nearly €80 billion of funding. Its objective is to take great ideas from the lab to the market.

There is a special focus on energy and on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs.

It is so exciting to be part of an initiative on this scale, knowing that the contributions we can make as individuals and companies will have a lasting and positive effect on the world.

The EU has developed an entirely credible vision for the European Energy Union. This is no surprise. Despite recent upsets to the Paris Accord, most people understand that environmental responsibility does not stop at national borders.

The focus of the H2020 energy initiative is clear and simply stated: “The Energy Challenge is designed to support the transition to a reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system.”

It’s great to state things clearly. The challenge itself, however, is complex beyond imagination. It spans changes to social and environmental attitudes; changes in grid design and technology; innovation in generation, storage and consumption; control and management technologies; and, of course, economic and business models.

As part of the H2020 program, I am deeply involved in the inteGRIDy project, and I would like to let you know a little more about it.

Inside inteGRIDy

Our Research and Innovation energy sector team is currently managing three projects within the H2020 program:  SHAR-Q is focused on establishing interoperability networks; JOSPEL is about climate control for electric vehicles; and inteGRIDy, is the largest of the three.

The inteGRIDy project aims to enhance distribution grids by integrating new technologies. These cover demand/response, storage, and the integration of electric vehicles in grid models. Together, these will enable an increased use of renewables.

The project will define and create a functional platform which can be used across the different energy modules. The functional platform will serve as framework for these technologies while being customizable for pilot cases. Get this right, and we will establish the conditions needed to radically increase the use of renewables.

We’ve been active for just over a year, preparing the foundation for our ten pilot demonstration projects for validation in eight EU member states.

There are thirty partners in the inteGRIDy initiative, with Atos acting as project coordinator.

You can find more detail on the ten pilots here, but in summary, they focus on:

  • Demand/response studies
  • Making the distribution grid smarter
  • Energy storage, and
  • Smartgrid transport integration

Unsurprisingly, all these activities involve a significant degree of modelling and analytics, and this is naturally of special interest to us.

Shared responsibility

As individuals and as members of enterprises, we need to meet multiple responsibilities. We are taking social and environmental responsibility seriously, and the company’s GRI rankings reflect this.

Corporate responsibility is not just, however, about ensuring that your own carbon footprint and sustainability practices are optimized. It’s also about making sure that you can apply your specialist skills and expertise for the wider social good.

When we have the opportunity to participate in initiatives like SHAR-Q, JOSPEL and inteGRIDy, it gives us the chance to collaborate with other sector experts, making a direct contribution both the scientific advance and societal sustainability.

This is not soft philanthropy. There is also a clear element of intelligent self-interest.  As business technologists, the more that we can help shape the world in this age of digital transformation, the more we can safeguard our own commercial future and the professional opportunities of current and future employees.

 Get involved

The inteGRIDy project will run for four years. During this time, we will issue regular updates, hold seminars, and so on.

The project covers such a wide range of technical, business and social science specialties, that whatever your passion, you will find areas in which your contribution will make a difference – self-sustainability and energy provision, for instance, are other key inteGRIDy themes.

So, get in touch, keep up with developments, and do consider opportunities for greater involvement.

About Andrea Rossi

Andrea Rossi is head of the energy sector for Atos Research and Innovation, and is the coordinator of the inteGRIDy project. Madrid-based Andrea is particularly interested in the implications of the Internet-of-Things on the energy and transport sectors. Andrea joined Atos from Phillips in 2007. His first degree was in Organizational and Behavioral Science, which he gained in Bologna, Europe’s oldest university, where he also gained his MBA.