The Dutch energy ecosystem is particularly innovative: It is not surprising for the local players to be of particular interest to all energy companies for their pioneering and innovative nature. Among them, the ENECO group.
Eneco is a Dutch supplier also operating in Belgium and Germany. In the B2C market, it holds around 25% of the market in the Netherlands and 12% in Belgium while serving around 15% of the B2B market in the Netherlands. He therefore has strong positions without being a leader. Evolving in the Dutch context, the Eneco group no longer has distribution activities.
Eneco’s particular interest lies in the balance it manages to maintain between excellent performance in its core businesses and strong innovation in new applications.
This balance is rarely achieved: innovators sometimes have to create a culture that underestimates the core business and does not favor a top performance and energy companies focusing on the excellence of their core business have difficulties to innovate.
In its core business, four points seem to me to characterize Eneco’s positioning:
– The customer relationship is a constant attention; it’s not just an incantation but a shared goal: Eneco has the highest customer retention rate in the Netherlands, well above the European average.
– A renewable production portfolio, balanced in terms of geographical location and technologies, to take into account risks related to market and technology developments. These capacities generate about half of the total generation and just over 15% of the electricity sold by Eneco.
– Eneco has developed heat networks to diversify its offer and ensure recurring revenues over long periods.
– Finally, Eneco serves the Dutch market under 3 distinct brands for an optimal coverage and a better adaptation to different customer needs: Eneco is the main one, Oxxio is an online offering and Woon Energy serves the rented housing market.
In addition, Eneco has a stake in Greenchoice, a green Dutch energy provider and owns Lichtblick, a provider of green energy and comprehensive residential solutions in Germany.
In parallel, Eneco is an innovator in all areas of new energy. What may appear to be dispersion can also be a means of investigating all the disruptions and changes taking place, reducing risks by diversifying investments and reinforcing an image of a leader of the energy transition. In addition to the advanced digitization of its activities, Eneco has invested in the following activities:
– Virtual Power Plant through Next Kraftwerke, one of Europe’s leading VPPs
– A solution for analyzing residential consumption (Onzo)
– Residential comfort through a connected thermostat Toon, sold more than 300,000 copies! heating solutions (Thermondo) and a heat recovery system to heat the water (Heatwinner)
– An optimization application for electric vehicle charging planning with Renault (Jedlix)
– A management solution for charging stations (Greenflux)
– Intelligent street lighting (Luminext)
– A set of 50MWh batteries in Germany with Mitsubushi: InspireMe.
This scope of investment is consistent with Eneco’s positioning, focused on B2C customers: solutions for commercial buildings and for industry have not been the priority. It shows a methodical commitment, designed to answer to energy, technological and economic stakes.
An important step for energy companies will be to make all new offerings and technologies consistent in the eyes of customers for a value clearly perceived by them. The advance taken by Eneco will definitely be an advantage to successfully complete this step.
The first goal is now to copy them, the second to pre-empt them.
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Eric Morel is a worldwide recognised expert of energy transition and digitalisation. In the past, he has served as VP Corporate Business Strategy and VP Global Smart Grids and Energy Efficiency at Schneider Electric as well as CEO of Ilevo, a telecommunication start-up. He is a founding member and a former Board member of the Gridwise Alliance, the main professional private/public association dedicated to Smart Energy.