Q: How does keeping things local fit with a more integrated, connected Europe?
A: I believe they can come together. The strange thing is that when most people talk about this internal European market they say we need to build a grid so it doesn’t matter where you produce the electricity, the cost should be exactly the same. This is saying ignore a big part of the costs because obviously it costs billions to build these grids. It would be pretty much the only industry where you wouldn’t include transport costs! If you do and it’s more efficient to produce in Spain and transport to Germany, fine.
But I don’t believe in the large scale. In the end it’s really a technological revolution: small power producers are as efficient as big power producers and that calls for a much more distributed, local market. Of course we should be able to trade energy inside Europe though. With modern technology there doesn’t have to be one central marketplace, but no region will be fully self-sufficient either. There will always be trading.
Q: What are you most excited about going forward?
A: We are very excited that in three years we’ve gone from nobody listening to us to peer-to-peer energy markets and regional markets becoming almost mainstream. I believe there will be a lot of innovation around it and this will put pressure on politicians to change the rules so we can do even more.
From a technical point of view, we are also looking at the advances of block chain technology. We don’t use it at the moment, but if it turns out that you can manage individual contracts more efficiently that might be something we also implement in a couple of years. It might become more efficient to have contracts directly between producers and consumers, though you would still need a platform on top that manages the balancing group and offers balancing services.
Q: Are you an energy company or an IT company?
A: We are a little bit of both but from where we actually want to be it’s much more an IT and services company than an energy company.
Lumenaza won the German Federal Ministry of Economic and Technology’s IKT innovation award “From the Smart Home to the Smart Grid” in August 2013. This is the most important award for start-ups in the ICT sector in Germany. They also won the Gold medal of the Ecosummit Award in 2016 as the most promising cleantech start-up. The jury consists of more than 60 international members of the European VC community.