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.

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