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, Benjamin Bailly, Head of Market & Innovations at VOLTALIS, through an interview dedicated to him.
- Which is your role in frESCO project?
In frESCO project, Voltalis is in charge of the French demonstrator on one side and is the aggregator expert on the other side.
Voltalis has to make sure that the French demo site is well installed, end-users selected and working with individuals to propose them new energy services.
As the leader of DSR (Demand Side Response) in Europe, Voltalis has already developed some energy services for end-users, and is leveraging on this to define potential new ones and see how they could be applicable in other countries participating to the project.
- Why has your organization chosen to participate as a partner (to coordinate for CIRCE) in this project? What are the reasons, motivation and benefits that convinced you to be part of it?
We’ve been chosen as we are the leader in Europe in terms of aggregator at individual level. We already have 10 years of experience on this job and have installed more than 150,000 households with our solution. Therefore we have a strong expertise, both in terms of data and consumption knowledge as well as on regulatory issues in order to enable to develop such services all across Europe.
At Voltalis, we were strongly convinced that participation at such a trans-European project. It enables us to understand dynamics of other markets and discover potential new future partners. Voltalis is very well in place in France, the most advanced market in terms of DSR due to regulations already in place. But participating in this project enables to better understand the situation in other countries (Greece, Spain, Croatia).
- What are the main challenges you face in this project and how do you overcome these challenges?
The main challenges are to be able to get in close connection with our different working partners whereas we come from different companies, from different countries and speak different languages. It is therefore very valuable to have a coordinator helping us to all work together. Connecting our different technologies and products will also be a strong challenge in the coming months, to make sure we all develop together a strong solution.
Another challenge regarding France is to involve at the right level the end-users that have been selected to participate at this demo. Indeed, until recently, energy is not really an issue in France and proposing energy services isn’t really a game changer for individuals in France.
- Is the COVID-19 emergency affecting your daily job? How?
Yes, the COVID19 crisis has affected our activity. Our job is to install equipment in individual households, and therefore during months it was impossible to have contact with people as they wouldn’t let people inside their houses. This has led to a real decrease in our activities.
- Do you think that your activities will be different after the end of the emergency? How?
It has already started to become easier to go at people places to install our solution. Emergency is clearly behind us now.
- In your opinion, what impact frESCO will have in the future?
frESCO will enable to develop and test new energy services for individuals. It’s a chance as it is very poorly developed until now. With the energy crisis actually occurring all across Europe, it’s becoming urgent to develop such services. frESCO project will enable individuals to overcome this crisis with smart solutions to manage their consumption, and therefore their bills, having simultaneously an impact on the energy transition.
- What do you enjoy the most about working in an international Project Consortium such as frESCO?
Working with people from other companies, countries, cultures… enable to learn so much.
- Who do you think frESCO can help the most? Which are the final targets?
frESCO will help to push DSR in some countries in Europe where it isn’t developed at all today.
frESCO will also enable different companies to brainstorm, develop and test some innovative ideas around energy services that wouldn’t naturally be developed without financial support from the European Commission, as return on interest isn’t immediate.
Final objective is to develop services that will be useful, profitable both for companies and end-users.