This post is also available in: Danish

Both the energy and digital sectors are strong in Denmark. By bringing the two more closely together to address concrete challenges, the Digital Energy Hub will secure Denmark’s position of strength in energy technology.

Sponsored: This article is published in cooperation with Center Denmark and Digital Energy Hub

More wind turbines and power lines are part of the development, but if we are to reach the goal of being carbon neutral in Denmark, digital solutions and sector coupling will also play a crucial role. This is the view of the non-profit organisation Center Denmark.

“In reality, we can save a lot of money with digital solutions. Instead of digging more copper and building bigger transformer stations, we can manage the electricity grid better with data. But this requires the energy sector’s skills and digital skills to work together more and offer new, data-driven solutions,” says Søren Skov Bording, director of Center Denmark.

Søren Skov Bording, CEO at Center Denmark.

Today, Center Denmark has interconnected data from Denmark’s energy systems, across electricity, water and heat, and made it available through a digital infrastructure targeting new, data-driven solutions. The next step is the Digital Energy Hub incubator, which facilitates meetings between big energy companies and digital SMEs to turn data into commercial solutions.

Challenges together

Digital Energy Hub is planning so-called sprints where strategic partners – initially the power company EWII – offer strategic problems in the energy sector that startups and SMEs are invited to solve.

“We need to move from big data to also doing big business, and for both power companies and startups there needs to be payback on the work we do with data. Therefore, we are establishing an ecosystem where it is SMEs that contribute with their digital skills to concrete solutions that also represent business opportunities in the long run,” says Flemming Pors Knudsen, Head of Innovation at Center Denmark and PhD at the Institute of Entrepreneurship.

Flemming Pors Knudsen, Head of Innovation at Center Denmark and PhD at the Institute of Entrepreneurship.

This is how companies create green transformation in collaboration. Digital Energy Hub is in charge of formulating the challenge and connecting partners across sectors. In the first sprint, eight companies are involved, and if they solve the challenge in the 16 weeks of the programme, it is very likely to translate into a customer relationship on a large scale afterwards.

“Partners are asking for concrete solutions. It’s a scaling project: the digital companies have to take their established technology and match it with a new problem in the energy sector,« says Knudsen, adding, “Data can’t do anything on its own, but if we use it cleverly, we can really accelerate the innovation process for both large and small companies.”

Digital Energy Hub’s collaboration model

  1. The strategic partners identify concrete challenges to be worked on in the Hub.
  2. Innovation sprints are conducted based on the challenges.
  3. Talented SMEs are recruited to work with data from the challenge and develop digital business models.
  4. Universities bring state-of-the-art knowledge of digital technologies and energy systems into the sprints.
  5. Solutions mature in the hub, and the Danish Innovation Center in Silicon Valley brings in international investors.