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04 Dec 2020, 13:29
Charlotte Nijhuis

E.ON enlists software company SAP for digitalisation of energy grid

WirtschaftsWoche

Energy company E.ON is teaming up with software company SAP to digitalise its power grid and customer service in a two-year project,  the heads of the two companies, Johannes Teyssen (E.ON) and Christian Klein (SAP) said in an interview in the business weekly WirtschaftsWoche. In total, E.ON is investing several hundred million euros in the digitalisation of its network and sales division and a “high double-digit million euro amount” in the cooperation with SAP, Teyssen said. The new project would result in E.ON being able to “connect a solar system to the grid within a few days or handle the switch of the electricity supplier more quickly”, Teyssen explained.

In order to expand and adapt the grid to green electricity, investments in intelligent data technology are needed, Teyssen said. “The energy transition is a social task of the century. Everyone is talking about hydrogen, green electricity and electromobility, but unfortunately none of this will work without billions of euros of investment in the grid.”

Although SAP data centres take up a lot of energy, the company is not considering setting data centres up abroad to save costs, Klein said. “Customers from the public sector, but also companies, are very keen to keep their data in Germany,” he said. “We operate the data centres with renewable energy. We have a good overall package for this, which also includes the electricity costs. This makes us competitive and I have no reason to complain about high electricity prices.”

In order to keep electricity prices down for companies and consumers, E.ON’s Teyssen argues that the pricing of energy has to be reformed entirely. The new Renewable Energy Act (EEG) and the introduction of a CO2 price in the heating and transport sectors are a first step in the right direction, he said. However, the costs for the massive transformation of the energy system are currently shouldered by the cleanest product, electricity, instead of by climate-damaging energy sources like oil. The renewables levy on power should be replaced by a CO2 tax, he said.

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