What If...

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Milan Enlit Europe 2020

Your opinion matters. We want to hear it.

Every month we launch an industry question, which we would like you to answer. 

Explore all the questions on this page!

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#4 What If Business And Industry Led The Push To Net Zero Instead Of Policymakers?

Sustainability is now high on the boardroom agenda for every company. They have more to lose than policymakers because their bottom line is at risk with the choices they make. Should we let businesses set the pace of change for the energy transition? Would it result in realistic and achievable results? 

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What Our Community Says


I believe there needs to be considerable cooperation – and communication – between industry and the energy sector. The energy sector needs to secure the contracts to supply energy-intensive industries to allow them to invest in enabling infrastructure. And in turn, they will be able to supply green energy and be the backbone of the pathway to carbon neutrality.

Paddy Young, Director, Enlit Europe

Read His Article Here

Paddy Young, Director, Enlit Europe


The energy transition must remain largely policy led. Business looks to government to set the overall direction of travel and the broad rules of the game.  However, policymakers need to consider what is commercially viable for business and should provide a framework that gives business both some incentivisation to work toward the goals, but also some flexibility on how the goals are to be achieved.

Jonathan Robinson, Energy Research Director - Power (Industrial), Frost & Sullivan (Enlit Europe Media Partner)

Jonathan Robinson, Energy Research Director - Power (Industrial), Frost & Sullivan


If the net-zero goal is to be met and the earth’s carbon balance restored, it will be achieved through the combined efforts of motivated individuals and businesses. It is the role of policymakers to remove roadblocks to decarbonisation, but a net-zero approach must become the default position for the industry for any new project or refurbishment.

Nigel Blackaby, Associate Editor, Power Engineering International

Nigel Blackaby, Associate Editor, Power Engineering International

Businesses and industries have plenty of reasons to push for net-zero, and certainly with ongoing competition and COVID-19 in the back of our minds, this will have the potential to go faster than expected. Businesses and industry will have an increasing drive to push for net-zero with current policies being put into place, although they would not jeopardise their competitive advantage or risk a negative ROI; policymakers need to be involved to guarantee a safe-level playing field.

Rogier Kuttschreuchter, Utility & Partner Liaison, Enlit Europe

Read His Article Here

Enlit Europe’s Utility & Partner Liaison, Rogier Kuttschreuchter.


Without policymakers setting and timely updating long term energy and climate goals, investments in energy transition would be riskier and the path to decarbonisation would slow down.

GB Zorzoli, President, Coordinamento Free

GB Zorzoli, President, Coordinamento Free


The energy transition involves different actors. A synergy of roles and skills to achieve the decarbonisation goal, which could be favoured by further development policies and measures. Our member companies are ready to take on this challenge. 

Elettricità Futura, Enlit Europe Partner

Elettricità Futura logo, Enlit Europe partner


Only free, competitive and transparent markets are able to activate major investments necessary to achieve the energy transition. Just as in nature, the “biodiversity” of the energy supply system, guaranteed by a solid regulatory structure, is the main lever that allows us to optimistically look into the future.

Energia Libera

Energia Libera What If

#3: What If  We Accelerated Energy Innovation?

Existing technologies alone will not deliver the energy transition at the pace that is needed. We need greater innovation. How do we unlock greater innovation in the energy sector?


Read The Wrap-Up Article Here

What Our Community Says

I have seen a paradigm shift in the way the energy sector approaches innovation. We see more and more cross-sector innovation initiatives: companies that were viewed as a potential threat to the very existence of utilities now collaborate with many of them on smart engagement with consumers.

Paddy Young, Director, Enlit Europe

Read His Article Here

Paddy Young, Director, Enlit Europe

The power sector has always been an innovation leader and has delivered unprecedented change over the last 2 decades. But whilst large OEMs continue playing a major role, the decentralisation of energy systems has opened up a different path to innovation at a micro level, that looks both at grid and generation, as well as demand and supply side in a more integrated way. To accelerate further, policymakers will need to work on the risk-reward balance. In many countries, the power sector is still too protectionist of the status quo and governments protect obsolete technologies. That heavily discourages true innovation and entrepreneurial behavior.

Joerg Gmeinbauer, Vice-President, Marketing & Sales, Bureau Veritas

Joerg Gmeinbauer, Vice-President, Marketing & Sales, Bureau Veritas


Greater Innovation can be unlocked by stronger partnerships, between energy actors, tech startups, and R&D institutes. International cooperation and open-innovation will be accelerators to bridge gaps and make the energy transition faster, easier and cheaper.

Edouard Sauvage, CEO, GRDF (Gaz Réseau Distribution France)

Edouard Sauvage, CEO, GRDF


When faced with an existential threat like Covid-19, hospitals are built in days, global PPE production is ramped-up, billions of dollars are pledged for vaccine research and development timelines are slashed. If the same effort and commitment was given to renewable energy technology development, just imagine how quickly we could achieve a carbon-neutral energy system and defeat another existential risk.

Nigel Blackaby, Associate Editor, Power Engineering International

Nigel Blackaby, Content Director, Enlit Europe


Today, the energy sector is one of the most dynamic businesses. 

Progressive players are combining the disruptive potential of renewable energies and digitalisation.

To unleash the full potential of these innovations, open markets and up-to-date regulation is key.

Matthias Zelinger, Managing Director, VDMA Power Systems

VDMA Matthias Zelinger

The energy sector is facing an uncertain transition, from the traditional vision with few big players and reduced use of technologies to a much larger number of players and distributed generation turning around everything. New market entrants for this big change are needed, facing innovative solutions for the smart communities, smart grids, energy storage or big data management. The changes in the energy sector will have to take care of the customer personal data protection, write new regulations for the new conditions, find the cost-effective products and be able to market the specific solutions for each need.

Francisco Puente, Business Development and Projects Director, Escan energy consulting

Francisco Puente, Escan energy consulting


Technology related to Energy Transition is a powerful tool to accelerate innovation, but technology without finance is not enough.


Sergio Olivero, Head Finance & Business Innovation Unit, Energy Center - Politecnico di Torino; ETIP SNET WG1


More significant innovation can occur within the environments where implementation barriers are eliminated along the way, where large scale testbeds safe and secure testing of new solutions is enabled, where financial mechanisms can effectively support innovation at all stages and are dynamic.

Nathalie Samovich, Head of R&I, Enercoutim; ETIP SNET WG1


The issue is not innovation per se, it is the roll-out of innovative solutions into the field. The valley of death is broad: large-scale prototype construction, and - especially - full-scale first-of-a-kind commercial plants (FOAKs).

Mark Howitt, CTO and Co-Founding Director, Storelectric Ltd; ETIP SNET WG1

#2: What If Consumers Drove The Energy Transition?

How much power could the consumer have? How much power should the consumer have? What would they do with that power? And what can the rest of the sector do to empower them?


Explore This What If... Question Here

#1: What If More Convergence Could Accelerate The Energy Transition?

Convergence has already changed the face of energy in Europe – and yet it could do so much more. Convergence of companies, policy, financing and sectors should breed collaboration, and that in turn could create the business models needed for a 21st-century energy sector.


Explore This What If... Question Here

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