Across the globe, people are coming up with new ways to power our world. New ways to generate energy, to channel it, to use it flexibly and efficiently. But with digital energy innovations cropping up so fast and so far apart, they’re at risk of outrunning the system they’re designed to help.

As the body that supports innovation in the Dutch energy sector, Energy Innovation NL knew that without shared language and standards, the sector could end up fractured, muddled, and opaque.

One potential solution was a reference architecture – a set of guiding principles and definitions that give different organisations in the same industry a common framework for building and running their operations. The question was: could it work for Dutch energy? It was our job to find out.

Baringa charted the challenge, and shaped a solution

We tackled the task of creating a reference architecture for the Dutch energy sector in three stages, and sourced a sounding board of industry experts to guide, check, and validate our thinking throughout.

First, we looked to the present to predict the future. We scoured our sources to find 450 energy sector innovations, which we whittled down to the 25 most impactful. This helped us find focus-points for a reference architecture: where change would occur, where systemic gaps would appear, and how soon all of it was likely to happen.

Next, we analysed the reference architectures that were already out there. We looked within the world of energy, to see what we could build on; and outside the sector, to understand what makes a reference architecture sink or swim.

Finally, we charted a course, setting out the nine recommendations and 45 steps that would get Energy Innovation NL to a genuinely useful reference architecture for the Dutch energy sector. One that would be taken on – but just as crucially – taken over by the sector it serves.

We set the ball rolling on a future-fit energy system

Armed with Baringa’s robust roadmap, Energy Innovation NL is now actively looking into creating the first reference architecture for the Dutch energy sector. This will pave the way to a fair and sustainable digital energy system – with a level playing and clear rules. So that everyone, whether they’re supplying the power or using it, can reap the rewards of energy innovation.

Hear from two of the project’s key players on what the report revealed

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