Behind every project there is a team of people who work together for a common purpose. Knowing a project does not only mean understanding the results achieved or the activities carried out, but also knowing who is behind these activities, what motivates them and what were the life paths, choices and personal goals that led them to be part of a research team today. For this reason we want to introduce you today one of the frESCO partners, Leila Luttenberger Marić from KONCAR, through an interview dedicated to her.
- Would you briefly describe yourself and your career?
Currently I hold the position of a senior project manager in KONČAR Digital’s Products and Services R&D unit. Before joining the KONČAR team, I have had years of consulting experience with a specific focus on energy efficiency projects. My previous experience also included preparation of energy efficiency programs dissemination materials and similar community-facing efforts. With my experience in H2020 and Interreg programs, as the frESCO project joins my two principal areas of expertise it is among my favourite projects.
- What does KONCAR mainly deal with outside the frESCO project?
KONČAR- Digital Ltd. for digital services (KONČAR- Digital) is a part of the KONČAR-Electrical Industry Inc. (KONČAR-Group), the largest Croatian electric equipment manufacturer that in 2021 has celebrated its 100th anniversary. KONČAR-Digital has been established in October 2021 by splitting a digital business unit from the KONČAR-KET (KONČAR-POWER PLANT AND ELECTRIC TRACTION ENGINEERING Ltd.) KONČAR – Digital is slated to become a focal company of all digital endeavours of the KONČAR Group.
KONČAR – Digital is a digital solution provider and developer of digital platforms based on open and modular architecture for power engineering, mobility, and critical and urban infrastructure, with advanced analytics and lifecycle management. KONČAR-Digital primarily focuses on the energy transition and modern business models where digital services and solutions are used as enablers and supporting new energy entities such as energy communities and aggregators. KONČAR-Digital is exceptionally well versed in interoperability, standards-compliant semantics. KONČAR-Digital’s flagship solutions continue of more than 40 years of development. KONČAR-Digital’s PROZA NET has been the world first automation platform to be awarded the IEC 62443-2-4 cyber security certificate.
KONČAR-Digital strongly focuses on interoperability and openness: its successful PROZA LKKU solution allows the legacy equipment from many vendors to communicate using current standardized protocols and is available in appliance and virtual form. KONČAR has a longstanding successful track record in development, integration, and deployment of automation infrastructure, extending from Croatia to the region (Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro) and beyond, with successful operational projects across the world, and the software products KONČAR-Digital offers have numerous operational installations with operational uptime in tens of years. New generation of KONČAR solutions are based on open core principles.
KONČAR-Digital team has been and continues to be a key partner in several research and innovation projects, within FP7, Horizon 2020 and Croatian national research programs. Besides its engagement in development and engineering projects, KONCAR is actively participating in standardisation efforts relevant to energy and Smart Grid issues focusing on application integration, information modelling and remote control as an IEC member.
- Which is your role in frESCO?
KONČAR is in charge of identifying the current standardisation gaps of both the energy services models for residential consumers and of the back-end services and ICT-technologies, as well as proposing new standardards for frESCO developments, ensuring their effective uptake. KONCAR also act as a principal technical support to our pilot partners Smart Island Krk at the Croatian pilot site in Krk.
- What are the main challenges you face in this project and how do you overcome these challenges?
Compared to our projects where we work in “business to business” environment, this project has a strong end-user engagement, as these are among the principal stakeholders. To engage the end users and keep them engaged, we have to present the project developments in an easily accessible and approachable form. Smart Island Krk, as a municipal utility partner, has a multifaceted role as a pilot partner. By being immersed into the local community directly, we have an opportunity of close collaboration with the local community and direct contact with end users is the way we overcome these difficulties.
- What do you enjoy the most about working in an international Project Consortium such as frESCO?
I mostly enjoy mutual learning. Sharing experiences from different countries is crucial in the process of introducing novel business models for ESCOs, aggregators and energy efficiency in general. Generally, barriers tent to be quite similar while solutions among countries are typically different.