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Know-how

One of the central issues in the German energy sector at the moment is how to respond to digitisation. Which companies will master the transformation process from analogue to digital and what concepts will they pursue? At EWE, it is a question of how rapidly and sustainably can we successfully integrate digital innovations into our current business model.

Know-how

Concept

EWE’s approach to innovation is based on corporate entrepreneurship and as such, aims to anchor dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit firmly within the company. We have therefore established a central innovation department in the Group that will work with other departments. This will make it possible to demonstrate and test innovative approaches and ideas quickly and without delay.

Besides the traditional value chain in the energy sector, EWE aims to create a digital value chain. For example, this involves collecting data, establishing a range of communication technologies, developing an open, centralised data platform (known as an energy transition ecosystem), refining and evaluating data through analyses and data science and developing diverse new data-based business models for commercial and private customers.

The stated strategic objective of EWE is to significantly increase the share of its net income that is attributable to digital business models over the next few years. A digital world also requires the creation of a network of closely collaborating partners that will be expanded on a national and international level over the next few years.

Selected measures in 2017

  • In the ‘enera’ project, EWE aims to create a functional energy system based on renewable energy in a model region. It should be possible to transfer the findings to Germany as a whole More to enera see chapter ➞ Our strategy
  • The EWE Business Hub, a unit of the Business Innovation department, develops early-stage innovations and prepares them for implementation. Additionally, the central Business Hub controls and develops collaboration with start-ups.
  • It also applies other internal and external approaches to innovation that EWE identifies, supports and subsidises through systematic ideation and acceleration processes to develop new, future-proof business models.
The smart meter roll-out in the ‘enera’ project did not go according to plan in 2017 due to the lack of availability of certified meters, although it will gain momentum in 2018 and create another key platform for the project. In the business year ended, the execution and implementation of innovation work as part of diverse ideation and acceleration formats resulted in the identification of a number of business ideas from which some were selected and are now being systematically developed further. The development phase of these ideas and business models ranges from the rough idea to simple idea status to the spun-off company, including in the fields of e-mobility and battery storage.