Today, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Energy Union, and Belgian Federal Minister of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Marie-Christine Marghem visited the Eurometropolis -Lille, Kortrijk, Tournai- in the context of innovation for consumers in relation to energy and the environment. As part of this, they visited the cleantech company Smappee that makes smart energy monitors and the corresponding apps which enable families to handle energy in a sustainable manner. The visitors were given a guided tour and explanation of how Smappee works. The company, that is celebrating its fifth anniversary, also elaborated on CEO Stefan Grosjean’s plans to build an incubator for innovative energy start-ups in Kortrijk.
Involving consumers in the environment and energy.
The Eurometropolis collaborates on various levels, including in relation to energy and the environment, two important aspects for achieving European environmental objectives by 2030. Without doubt, this is not only down to the government, as consumers have a prominent role to play too. ‘We want to involve the population more in the energy policy’, states Minister Marghem. ‘Innovative solutions such as smart energy meters can help with that.’ In Flanders, the smart meter will be rolled out from 1 January 2019. We are one of the last in Europe to do that, but we are also the only country, apart from Germany, to be providing consumers with real insight into their energy consumption. That is possible due to innovations such as smart energy monitors that you connect to the fuse box, or later also to your smart meter, so that you can see your real-time consumption and can adjust it using an app. This means you can check your energy consumption, save on your bills and contribute to the environmental objectives.
Innovation, the key to success.
During the visit Stefan Grosjean, CEO and founder of Smappee, treated the invitees to a demo of the Smappee energy monitors: ‘Smappee’s greatest asset is that anyone can use it. The app displays real-time energy consumption for each appliance enabling you to act immediately – you do not have to wait a year until you receive your energy bill. In the long term this will create a durable change in behaviour. Furthermore, Smappee is ready for a future with a decentralised energy network. Smappee will optimise energy use and ensure that little or no energy is purchased from the grid at high prices. Consumers will be able to buy and sell peer-to-peer energy to meet their needs.’
Five years of Smappee: from start-up to energy hub.
‘The visit by the ministers and the vice-president is a great honour for us and comes at an important time: next week, we will be celebrating our 5th birthday’, states Stefan Grosjean. ‘During that period, we have launched five products for consumers and companies, expanded sales channels in 85 countries and have grown from a start-up to a company employing about 40 staff. As of recently, we also have a team active in the American market.’ Things are moving quickly for the young company. ‘But we want more,’ says Grosjean. ‘Smappee needs a home and even more growth opportunities. So, this year we are starting with the construction of a new building with a test lab. It will also offer innovative, promising start-ups room to grow. They can learn from the experts at Smappee, use our facilities and develop synergies. I will help them grow further in my role as mentor. We want to become the beating heart of a real energy hub.’ Stefan is no novice in this area – the entrepreneur previously founded EnergyICT that he developed into a global market leader and then sold to what is now the Honeywell group.