Future Grid Managers Programme: new concept

UK Power Networks Services, the Elia Group and Enel will each host a module in London, Berlin and Rome

After six editions of the Future Grid Managers Programme, it was time to revamp it. “UK Power Networks Services, the Elia Group and Enel will now each host a module, allowing Vlerick to really focus on content and optimum cross-fertilisation,” explains energy professor Leonardo Meeus.

For the past six years the Future Grid Managers Programme (FGMP) has taken place every October-November. During three three-day modules, senior managers from distribution and transmission system operators explored in depth some of the trends and challenges affecting the energy sector. “Compared with other executive education programmes, the FGMP is unusual because of its unique niche focus and distinct European flavour.”

Consortium programme with three partners

The energy companies involved appreciated this conscious choice. The Vlerick Energy Centre now brings together both large and new sector players. So they took some time to think the whole thing through. “The FGMP needed to be revamped. But how? By expanding our target group to include suppliers? Or, besides the electricity sector, actively approaching the gas sector as well? In the end, we decided to retain the niche approach. The time and energy we usually devote to attracting participants will largely be shared by three partners in the programme: UK Power Networks Services, the Elia Group and Enel.

Participants

The three partners will recruit participants for the programme in their own area. Naturally, the programme will continue to be open to people from energy companies that are not affiliated with the Centre.

Experience and cross-fertilisation

Each of the partners will also host a module: UKPN in London, the Elia Group in Berlin and Enel in Rome. Sevi Oxyzoglou, L&D Consultant at Vlerick, sees the added value of this new approach: “This hosting arrangement in different European locations means that we can focus on experience, with visits to Enel’s Innovation Centre, for example, and cross-fertilisation. UKPN senior executive Ian Smyth will issue a challenge to the participants in Berlin and they will be able to shadow their counterparts in other countries.”

Within the Centre too

This cross-fertilisation does not stop at the FGMP, however. Within the Centre too, energy companies are taking their commitment up a notch: UKPN and Netz-Noë are now also Partners in the DSO Chair, and Fluvius has become an FGMP partner.

Module 1: Business model innovation - London

Ian Smyth (UKPN)Ian Smyth, Director of UK Power Networks Services: “Focus on the edge of the grid”

“UK Power Networks Services works with some of Europe’s largest and best commercial and industrial enterprises. The energy revolution has brought a renewed focus to the edge of the grid where the focus is on new distributed technologies and resources which deliver improvements in resilience, cost and sustainability. For this module, we focus on the feasibility of new energy technologies and delivering the business cases for commercial and industrial customers.”

Module 2: Working together in a digital world - Berlin

Peter Michiels (Elia)Peter Michiels, Elia Group Chief Alignment Officer: “Acquisition as a catalyst”

“In 2018, Elia completed the acquisition of an additional 20 percent stake in our German subsidiary 50Hertz. This has been a real catalyst for innovation and digitalisation within Elia Group. As transmission system operators operational in two different countries, our aim is to fulfil a central, digital role between production and distribution via, for example, the Internet of Energy. But we also have e-mobility investments and joint ventures with business start-ups. The key question in our module is therefore: How do you reinvent yourself in a digital world?”

Module 3: Global digital energy transition - Rome

Viviana Vitto (Enel)Viviana Vitto, Head of Market Studies and Strategic Analysis at Enel Global Infrastructure and Networks: “Get all countries on board”

“Enel is a global power producer and distributor with a presence in 35 countries across five continents. As an integrated energy player, we have the ambition to take the lead in shaping a new, digital and participatory era of energy. For us, it’s a priority to get all countries on board of the global digital energy transition. If Europe is well ahead, Latin America is advancing at fast pace and we apply our cutting-edge knowledge in innovation and digitisation of the grids at global level aiming to converge technologies and processes. Besides sharing the lessons we’ve learned from this, we’re really looking forward to export within the program our ‘shadowing’ experience and let participants walk in the shoes of their European colleagues.”

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The energy sector is likely to face more changes in the next 10 years than in the last 100. New technologies, organisational challenges, regulation… they will affect you, as a business and as a customer. But change also equals opportunities – even if there are no easy answers. The Vlerick Energy Centre will help you to master that change. We will challenge you to think ahead and find new solutions for tomorrow’s world.