“With all energy players around the table”

New partnership with KPMG around the energy transition in Belgium

The energy pact that all governments signed at the end of March finally creates a framework for the energy transition in Belgium. It also immediately increases the pressure on all energy players to enter into the debate. “In the new Prime Foundation Partnership, Vlerick and KPMG aim to act as the sounding board for the entire energy ecosystem, through workshops.” The enthusiastic reactions during the first workshop on 1 June were an immediate boost for Jorn De Neve of KPMG and Professor Leonardo Meeus.

During the KPMG Chair, you focused on the role of distribution system operators (DSOs) in the changing European energy landscape. What did you learn from that?

Leonardo Meeus (Vlerick Business School)Leonardo Meeus: “At the start of the Chair in 2015, the Energy Centre had only just been set up. We both knew that, at a European level, the distribution system operators would end up in the eye of the transition storm, with all the associated organisational and operational growing pains. I don’t think it’s going too far to say that we have earned our rightful place within the European DSO community over recent years. Vlerick has set up a Chair with Eandis, we have also carried out research with other European DSOs within the Energy Centre, our annual Future Grid Programme is attended by DSOs of 10 different nationalities and our research into digitisation at Enedis has resulted in a teaching case study.”

“Both Vlerick and KPMG have earned their rightful place within the European DSO community in recent years”
Leonardo Meeus, Associate Professor in Energy Market & Director of the Energy Centre

Jorn De Neve (nods in agreement): “The Chair has been a success for KPMG too. In symbiosis, we have distilled best practices and evolutions from all the research projects, which we will take forward as we advise and guide energy customers. A good example is the merger between Eandis and Infrax to form Fluvius, from 1 July this year. KPMG is providing guidance to Eandis and Infrax during the merger and will continue to support Fluvius in the further integration over the coming years. We will also be able to make active use of the knowledge and experience we have obtained through our cooperation with Vlerick.”

KPMG will continue to focus on energy in the new partnership. Why?

Jorn De Neve (KPMG)Jorn De Neve: “The theme of this partnership is still based on what we at KPMG see happening in the energy market from the bottom up. All players are being confronted with the same trilemma: 1) how do we achieve the climate objectives, 2) how do we keep energy affordable, 2) how do we guarantee a reliable, safe energy supply? This puts all energy players under pressure to transform: regulators, government, investors and the energy companies themselves. Helping these players to transform in a sustainable context is why we are focusing on energy again, and why we want to target all players, not just the distribution system operators.” 

“KPMG wants to help transform all energy players in a sustainable context.”
Jorn de Neve, Partner & Deal Advisory KPMG, Head of Energy and Natural Resources

Leonardo Meeus: “Within the Energy Centre, we also took the strategic decision to include the entire ecosystem in our activities. For the past year, we have been working with InnoEnergy to speed up the European energy transition. When KPMG approached us asking about this substantive shift, everything fell nicely into place.”

You are extending the scope from Europe to Belgium. What makes our country so interesting?

Jorn De Neve: “Belgium is centrally located and well connected. The energy ecosystem is also comprehensible: if we enter into discussion with 50 or so stakeholders, we will have a reliable sample. In terms of energy transition, our country was slow to get started - thanks in part to the fact that energy is spread over various policy levels - but the Belgian governments have now provided significant momentum with the energy pact that was signed at the end of March.”

“Belgium is centrally located and well connected. The energy ecosystem is also comprehensible.”
Jorn de Neve, Partner & Deal Advisory KPMG, Head of Energy and Natural Resources  

Leonardo Meeus: “Indeed. The energy pact outlines measures that will be taken at the various levels. Of course: how are we going to translate these measures into practice? E.g. how should the capacity mechanism for the replacement of nuclear energy function? To what extent will we engage with energy communities of citizens who generate their own energy? It’s important to note that our intention is not to get everyone thinking in the same way, but to act as a sounding board: by ensuring that all stakeholders have access to the same correct information, by taking lessons from what is happening abroad, or by providing testing against the regulations.” 

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