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Omnetric Group Urges Utilities To Recognize Support For Community Energy


Omnetric Group has found that across Europe and the US, communities have a growing appetite and competence for managing their own energy distribution, in a trend coined "Community Energy", as detailed in a new research whitepaper released today. The company is urging utilities to respond to the interest from community energy leaders and apply reciprocal effort if the community energy economy is to prosper. 

Omnetric Group's "˜Power to the People' whitepaper is the result of research and 18 qualitative interviews conducted over 6 months with leading community and utility executives with authority in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and USA.

Commissioned as part of Omnetric Group's push to surface trends related to the new energy economy, the whitepaper explores the key factors promoting and inhibiting community energy initiatives. For the purpose of the whitepaper, community energy initiatives are defined as projects focused on mobilizing communities around the generation and distribution of energy.

A key finding of the whitepaper was that community energy initiatives are driven by the potential economic benefits, followed by the desire to achieve sustainability targets.

Simulations run by Omnetric Group indicate that community energy initiatives have the potential to deliver considerable cost savings for the end customer, above and beyond their more recognized social and sustainability benefits. The company projects that a single household could make a one-off per capita saving of nearly $4,000 compared to going it alone, as well as hedge against future electricity price increases reaching upwards of 3 percent per year.

However, the research findings found that, today, communities lack the in-depth technology and business knowledge they believe they need for their energy programs to be truly successful. Citing the absence of available vendors with appropriate expertise as a key issue, communities are increasingly seeking out partnerships with energy sector professionals and utilities to grow their own, collective knowledge.

The whitepaper shows that utilities have traditionally had limited involvement with community energy initiatives as a result of regulatory barriers or fears relating to core business erosion. To encourage support of community energy initiatives, the whitepaper proposes a role for utilities as the Community Energy Platform Provider. Acting as a market marker, utilities can develop and package a suite of solutions for communities designed to enable communities' active participation in energy distribution.

 Maikel van Verseveld, CEO of Omnetric Group, said, "The falling cost of Solar PV and the spread of energy storage is fostering a shift in customer mindset and creating an appetite to consume and generate community energy. Now is the time for community energy leaders, utilities and regulators to come together and work towards a future that is smarter, stronger, greener and more diverse".

The findings have inspired Omnetric Group's community energy concept, the "˜Prosumer Energy Management Platform'. This is a software-based concept that allows a community to measure, monitor and manage power generation and consumption across all households and businesses connected to its distribution system. The software solution will be cloud-based, to reduce complexity, adapt to differing scale requirements and remain affordable.

 To review a full copy of the whitepaper, visit

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