This year, for the first time, The smarter E Europe brought together the two leading energy exhibitions Intersolar and ees Europe with the new events Power2Drive Europe and EM-Power. The innovation hub for empowering new energy solutions thus put a spotlight on the core issues in the energy world, from renewable energies to decentralization and digitalization to the coupling of the electricity, heating and mobility sectors, over three days from June 20 to 22. A wide range of innovative business models and pioneering projects were presented here and explored in greater depth at the accompanying conferences.
Three days of packed halls and high spirits among exhibitors, visitors and partners: The debut of The smarter E Europe was a success. The reason for this? The renewable energy market is booming worldwide. In 2017, a total of 310 billion US dollars were invested in the development of renewable power plants worldwide. By way of comparison, 145 billion US dollars were invested in fossil fuels and nuclear power, according to the Renewables 2018 Global Status Report by REN21.
Around 178 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity were installed in the previous year, including 98 GW for photovoltaics alone. This positive development is primarily thanks to falling prices — a pleasing trend that looks set to continue. The importance of this event for the energy industry was underlined by the presence of one high-profile attendee, the European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, who met with numerous industry representatives at the venue in order to discuss the EU’s plans for the energy sector.
In creating the new exhibition format The smarter E Europe, the organizers made a radical decision in order to be able to fully reflect the development of the energy industry — a major step which has won the approval of the exhibitors. “There are currently two main game changers in the energy industry: The combination of renewable energies and storage systems, and of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, which are all part of a single ecosystem,” says Leonardo Botti, Head of Global Product Management at ABB.
“We’re seeing an upward trend for all of these solutions — the combination of solar power and storage as well as electric vehicle charging devices. This is the logical consequence of the industry’s recent development. Previously, the solar industry stood alone. Now it’s part of a larger ecosystem that encompasses the energy world in its entirety.”
The smarter E Europe Conference: Decentralization, digitalization and sector coupling
At the heart of this ecosystem is sector coupling. The intelligent interconnection of the electricity, heating and mobility sectors must continue to advance. The digitalization of infrastructure is a crucial lever here — this was also the message of the opening address by Michael Liebreich, the founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). With the session “New Energy World — Game Changers and Rising Stars”, he introduced the debut of The smarter E Europe Conference, which ran from June 19 to 20, 2018.
The international conferences focused on the topics of sector coupling, digitalization and decentralization. Experts also discussed the latest trends and developments in the international markets. The conferences of The smarter E Europe as well as the side events attracted around 1,800 attendees in 2018.
New exhibition format is a hit with visitors, exhibitors and partners
The new exhibition format The smarter E Europe met with an overwhelmingly positive response from visitors, exhibitors and partners. It’s clear that the concept is a success, thanks to the powerful dynamic of change, progress and vision created by recent developments in renewable energies, in energy storage and in the interconnection of the previously independent sectors with the potentials generated by digitalization.
“If we continue to develop renewable energies, as we do today, we will no longer have to worry about our energy. We at Smappee and the whole industry are bundling our efforts to make this transition happen, to optimize the generation, storage and the use of solar energy in our homes, to allow us to drive electric anywhere we want, without having to worry about hurting the planet. Renewable energy will be abundantly available and offer us even more comfort to do whatever we want,” says Stefan Grosjean, CEO of Smappee. “That's where I hope we’ll be in the next 20 years.”
Partners of the new The smarter E Europe in Munich were also satisfied with the outcome of the event. “The new exhibition format has been well received by the industry, because the innovation hub The smarter E Europe offers a platform to show how photovoltaic technology is making the modern energy world possible with interconnected systems, intelligent solutions and outstanding hardware,” says Carsten Körnig, CEO of the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar). “Our businesses are reporting high-caliber new contacts and excellent deals, which confirms our positive forecasts for photovoltaics and storage systems in 2018.”
And the organizers are delighted. “The response we’ve encountered is excellent, the concept is clearly extremely popular, and everything we’ve seen and heard confirms that we’re on the right path,” says Markus Elsässer, CEO of Solar Promotion GmbH. Daniel Strowitzki, Managing Director of Freiburg Wirtschaft Touristik und Messe GmbH & Co. KG, adds: “As the organizers, we are extremely pleased and we’re looking forward to The smarter E Europe 2019.”
The second The smarter E Europe and its single events will take place at the same time from May 15–17, 2019 at Messe München.