Stories

France is opening up its energy market, and there is a large need for new services. Statkraft invited French market players to a customer day in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Dialogue

Anna Klepan

Anna Klepan, Account Manager in Statkraft, in conversation with customer Renate Dohse from Das Grüne Emmissionshaus.

There is a lot of activity. Busy traders move between an impressive number of screens. Numbers and graphs are continually changing.

"The trading floor in Düsseldorf is the heart of Statkraft's market operations, so we wanted our potential French customers to come here to see how it works in practice," says Lillian Dale, VP Business Development in Market Operations & IT business area. Since 2013 she has been working on networking and market access for Statkraft in France.

Opening up

The changes in the French energy market represent new business opportunities for companies like Statkraft. The new market-based mechanism applies to new installations, and the first will be online around the end of the year.

"Earlier, in what was known as the feedin- tariff system, wind and solar production was not exposed to market demand," says Dale. "Now producers will sell energy on the wholesale market for the first time. This means that there's a great need for expertise in balancing renewable production and market operations."

Statkraft's team Sales & New Products Germany (former MAXI team) has held customer days four times earlier and has learned how useful such a meeting place can be. The fifth event was therefore expanded with a separate programme for participants in the French market.

"In addition to French energy producers, we invited banks, investment companies and industry organisations," says Dale. "If you are going to start a wind or solar project you must have backing in the form of capital. We have found that banks and investors are very interested in contract structuring and how we handle risk, producers are concerned with energy management, balancing and operational services, while industry organisations focus on the regulatory framework and the work we do on influencing energy policy."

We want to become better acquainted with the customers to ensure that the products we sell actually meet their needs.

Good response

Customer day is about networking and exchanging expertise.

"The French participants need information and knowledge about how the market functions and how we work," says Dale. "We want to become better acquainted with the customers to ensure that the products we sell actually meet their needs."

She emphasises that customer is not a sales event, but helps to position Statkraft as a competent and reliable aggregator.

"Statkraft has long experience in market operations in several European countries," she says. "We are one step ahead in terms of knowledge about regulation and on the technology front. Obviously this gives us an advantage when we enter a new market."

About 20 French participants attended customer day, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

"The fact that we are Norwegian and state-owned is popular in France," Dale says. "Statkraft's 120-year history and strong financial position are reassuring, and they see our extensive experience in balancing wind and solar power in other European markets."

Participants at customer day
The Nordic companies have a culture of corporate social responsibility that matches our profile.

What does the customer say?

When the French company Eurowatt chooses an aggregator, it is not just price and quality that play a role. The company's profile also weighs heavily.

Eurowatt is one of France's 10-15 largest producers of wind power and has more than 20 years of experience with renewable energy, mostly wind and hydropower. The company, which also has installations in Portugal, Spain and Poland, is expanding and preparing itself for a new situation in its French domestic market.

"We need a partner who can sell our power in the wholesale market where the rules of the game are new to us," says Dominique Darne, CEO of the Eurowatt Group. "It was therefore very useful to attend Statkraft's customer day in Düsseldorf and get acquainted with the company and the services it can offer."

Balancing forecasts and delivery, with remote control and adjustment of production in line with supply and demand are becoming far more important to Eurowatt.

"The experience Statkraft has gained from other markets is of great importance, and I’m interested in the company's ethical .standard," he says. "The Nordic companies have a culture of corporate social responsibility that matches our profile."

The Eurowatt CEO also draws attention to Statkraft's expertise and long experience in renewable energy trading. "The ability to stay ahead and monitor how policies and markets will develop is also important to us when choosing a partner," he adds.

The agreement Eurowatt is entering into with Statkraft provides the company with market access. Statkraft buys power and capacity certificates from Eurowatt's wind farms in France for sale on the power exchange. The agreement also includes risk management and services connected to developing forecasts and balancing power generation.

Text: Jenny Bull Tuhus
Photo: Oliver Tjaden
The article has also been published in Statkraft's People & Power magazine no. 2/2017.

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