Better Together: Centrica creates a C2B and C2C cloud solution to facilitate sustainable energy

How Digital Transformation Can Drive Sustainability for Energy

We have all heard plenty about how digital transformation can increase efficiency, control costs, and help businesses make more data-driven decisions. But can it actually make the world a better place? How can the benefits of digital transformation go beyond the walls of one business?

In our latest episode of Better Together, we have a remarkable story about how an energy services and solution company is using its transformation to facilitate the switch to sustainable energy.

We talked with Serdar Simsekler, Head of SAP Technology (Strategy and Architecture) at Centrica, and Helen Mallett, Head of Digital Enterprise Service Delivery, UK/I Home, about their new cloud-based solution, Microgen, which is built on the SAP Business Technology Platform.

  • For the podcast, I talked to Serdar and Helen about the problems they were seeking to solve with this solution, and the outcomes they’ve seen since implementation. We also take a look at what solutions like this could mean for renewable energy at large.
  • In the LinkedIn session, we talked about the practical details of the project, from planning and implementation to ongoing development.

Here are a few takeaways from the conversation.

Regulation Can Be the Mother of Invention

Centrica is dedicated to helping their customers achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and plans to make the company itself net zero by 2045. One part of this pledge is complying with regulations that require energy companies to manage microgeneration — that is, customers who generate their own electricity through solar or wind power.

These micro-producers can sell their excess electricity back into the National Grid, with companies like Centrica facilitating and managing the transaction.

However, Centrica’s legacy solution for serving these customers had a few serious drawbacks:

  • A reliance on on-premise infrastructure
  • No capacity for electronic payments
  • Unintuitive user interface

To serve these customers more efficiently, Centrica has developed a cloud-based solution built on SAP Business Technology Platform.

The new solution helps increase efficiency, control costs, and improve the customer experience while enabling the power plant next door.

The Future of Energy Is a Two-Way Street

The power grid in most developed nations was built to carry electricity from power plants to customers. Now, the grid has to handle many smaller producers that have a substantial amount of renewable energy to share.

“Today, microgeneration accounts for around 20% of electricity generation,” says Serdar. “Microgeneration is approaching 800 gigawatt hours annually, comparable to the electricity consumption of a sizable town like Oxford.” Serdar estimates that by 2050, more than half of electricity will come from these local sources.

The challenge ahead, says Serdar, is to decentralize the transactions between microgenerators and consumers, as well as develop solutions to store energy and release it according to demand.

Microgen is a first step in that direction, helping to facilitate transactions and make it easier to manage these small producers.

Be a Part of the Conversation

Centrica’s story demonstrates how digital transformation can serve a business, its employees, its customers, and the environment at the same time. By streamlining the process of managing microgenerators, Centrica is helping promote sustainable energy in a way that helps out the bottom line, too.

Check out more sustainable energy stories:

  • Snam: How Can Easy Access to Real-Time Analytics Support the Development of New, Greener Energy Markets?
  • Eneco: How Does a Cloud-Based Integration Suite Support Green Electricity and Innovative Energy Services?

Looking for even more inspiring stories straight from SAP Business Technology Platform customers? You can check out the whole Better Together: Customer Conversations series, and more, at sap.com/BTP.

Please let me know if there are topics you’d like to hear more about in the future as well as questions you’d like to explore. And, as always, please contact us if you’d like to be a guest on a future episode.