9th guest – Partner DNV

Santiago Blanco – Executive Vice-President and Regional Director in DNV’S Energy Systems Area, DNV
Ricardo Álvarez Muiña – Digital Assurance and Supply Chains Operations Manager, DNV.

Mr. Blanco, DNV is a world leading provider of digital solutions for managing risk and improving safety and asset performance for ships, pipelines, processing plants, offshore structure, electric grids, smart cities, etc.

What needs do you find most pressing nowadays regarding digital solutions in the energy systems business area?

If we think about the challenges that we have today in the energy sector, the most important one is to move faster in the energy transition. From this point of view the energy transition has a lot of advantages, but obviously it connects with the complexity of a much more complicated system. This complexity requires the digitalisation of all the assets and the operation of the system.
We know that with the current technology it is a space for improving in the way we manage the infrastructures, the grid, and the assets.
The new energy system, instead of the original, unilateral system of big generation plants with passive customers and transmission-distribution networks moving the energy from those huge conventional plants to the passive customer, is much more bidirectional and much more like a grid mesh of players.
Like in my case, with the PV panels on my rooftop – sometimes consuming, sometimes generating; my electric car… and all these interactions will require:
  • First, a system much more intelligent based on digitalisation
  • Second, a permanent monitoring of the operations
  • And last, a better maintenance of the assets.
Digitalisation will be key and finally, and probably most important – will be key to connect the customers (and offer them, like in my case, apps) with the system. In this way the consumers will have the possibility to be proactive and participate more in the energy system.

Mr. Alvarez, DNV has its own training department, but it is, at the same time, a public training provider.

How the company had changed/it will change the training areas OR the certification services in order to be in line with the energy transition towards carbon emission neutrality?

Indeed, we have a portfolio of services connected to the sustainability and also the climate change issues. There is a way in which climate change is threatening our way of life and the future of the planet. So, it is necessary to act to ensure the sustainability of our environment.
On the other hand, the regulatory and institutional field is committed to the path of decarbonization. An opportunity opens for companies to be part of the solution. To reduce or eliminate your carbon emissions associated with your operations, companies must first analyse their main risks related to climate change, also calculate the base year and the amount of emissions in a reliable manner.
A credible communication of the impact on GHG emissions or carbon footprint, eventually includes climate neutrality. Verifying this performance and obtaining the associated declaration shows that it has been carried out in a solvent manner, with proven methodologies and international reference standards, providing more rigor to the approach and communication associated with the company’s climate change strategy.
Here is where DNV has the knowledge and experience necessary to carry out verification of performance, data, and the associated declarations of the company in accordance with the main international reference standards. Both corporate GHG inventories (ISO 14064, GHG Protocol) and carbon footprints (ISO 14067, GHG Protocol Product) and carbon neutrality (PAS 2060)

The tools we have in DNV to help companies on their climate strategy are:

  • Training courses on international standards for conducting corporate GHG inventories (ISO 14064, GHG Protocol) or for measuring the carbon footprint with a product approach (ISO 14067, GHG Protocol Product)
  • Pre-audits based on the previous standards, to evaluate the degree of preparation of your corporate GHG inventory or carbon footprint to successfully pass a verification audit.
  • Verification of the corporate GHG inventory according to ISO 14064 or GHG Protocol or the carbon footprint of the product / service according to ISO 14067 / GHG Protocol Product.
  • Verification of neutrality of emissions associated with products or companies according to PAS 2060
  • Assurance of climate performance data in sustainability reports or reports.
  • Assessment against TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) Guidelines.
  • Communication of emissions of carbon footprint digitally using blockchain technology.

Mr. Blanco, working with different European businesses, how do you see the gaps between the current and future demand of skills necessary for the digitalisation of the Energy sector?

It depends on each country, company, provider. There is still room for improving. In the last 10 years, at least here in Spain, we had the implementation of smart meters – in Spain almost 100% of the residential customers are digitally connected.
The utilities are doing a wonderful work developing new tools to capture, manage and make value with the information they are collecting. But basically, I think that in the grid, with the customers and the renewable generation, it is a lot of room for new developments of intelligence to transform this tsunami of data in information and then in value. In this way the system will be safer, the operations more efficient, and the main result will be the active implication of the customer.
So, the focus regarding the gaps should be on the customer integration, and for this we will need new skills, new providers, new solutions that I know the technology companies are developing and who will be implemented in the future.

Mr. Alvarez, what risks the Blueprint (the central product of EDDIE project) can encounter during project implementation, but also after the end of the project? How can we avoid them?

EDDIE project is a complex project, with many partners from different countries with different profiles.
DNV is in charge of quality part in EDDIE project, so together with the consortium we identified at the initial stages of the project a total of 25 risks, classified on Financial, Reputation, Meeting project objectives, Stakeholders
Examples of risks were the impact of a partner leaving the consortium, intra-project communication, resistance of the industry and universities to change, limited interest of EDDIE project, Covid19, lack of interest of students, not adequate coverage of green and digitalization skills, and long-term sustainability of the project
All the risks have a plan, in some risk the action planned has been put in action, with good result.
We can avoid the risk impacts them by a close interaction with all the partners by mean of several meetings of different kinds (project meetings, board meetings) but also interacting with external bodies to the consortium as the IAB – International Advisory Board, that provides us with very good inputs and a different approach and another view. Above all a good communication with the Agency (EACEA) is key, to know their expectations and be able to consider their feedbacks.
Another key issue is the quality of project deliverables, to assure they are relevant and updated to market needs on the energy digitalization field.

What are you doing when you are not working?

Mr. Blanco: I’m thinking on my holidays that will start in a couple of days and I love sailing. As part of the energy transition, wind is a good component, and nothing is better then sailing with a proper wind. Additionally, I like sport and meeting with friends.

Mr. Alvarez: In our daily job we are reading a lot of technical papers and when I’m not working, I try to read non—technical ones (like classical literature) to reach different perspectives and to understand where we are. Since I work in sustainability and environmental fields, I like very much the contact with nature and I’m living outside Madrid in a rural area, so I’m lucky to be able to go outside and walk on the mountains.