Energy transition: Is Neuchâtel set to lead the way?

Against the backdrop of the current climate, energy, and economic crises, sustainable solutions are more important than ever. Neuchâtel-based energy provider Viteos has announced a five-year partnership with CSEM to find innovative technical solutions to support the energy transition. The partnership is a good example of how the Swiss technology innovation center and an energy industry player work together to develop future-oriented solutions.

Jérôme Le Gouévec Director of Asset Management and Strategic Projects at Viteos (left) and Christophe Ballif, Head of Sustainable Energy activities at CSEM (right), confirm the beginning of their partnership. Image Credit: © CSEM

Managing data in a digital world is a major challenge for the energy sector. Technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence offer clear added value to understand, predict and better manage supply and demand. This paves the way for new opportunities to efficiently manage infrastructure. The challenges of the energy transition are forcing utility distributors to develop forward future-oriented solutions to make the most of these opportunities while continuing to run their core business. Faced with these increasingly complex challenges, they may lack the resources to quickly develop the major innovations required for the energy transition. For this reason, Viteos signed a five-year partnership with CSEM earlier this year to jointly develop innovative and sustainable energy solutions.

The Passion to Innovate, the Energy to Act

This is not the first time that Viteos and CSEM have worked together: in 2015, they created a 100% Swiss-made solar façade made entirely with solar cells developed and produced in Switzerland. The robust, efficient, and stylish façade set a benchmark for modern and attractive solar architecture.

Seven years later, they are rebooting their partnership with a heat production optimization project that includes an innovative initiative to simulate the needs (demand) of a  heating network in Neuchâtel. The goal of the partners is the balance between energy supply and demand, as well as the carbon footprint of production systems. The project will demonstrate the benefits of combining CSEM’s expertise in digital modeling of complex systems and Viteos's skills in engineering and operation of energy networks. But it is not only CSEM's research and development skills that will play a significant role: "Our experience in knowledge and technology transfer will be equally important over the next five years," explains Christophe Ballif, Director of Sustainable Energy at CSEM.

Exciting Projects in the Pipeline

In the coming months, the foundations of the partnership between Viteos and CSEM will be laid in the form of shared facilities. "We will then identify the ideas and technologies we want to develop together, to actively support our role as a key player in the energy transition," reveals Jérôme Le Gouévec, Director of Asset Management & Strategic Projects and Head of Innovation at Viteos. Among the topics discussed is a concept for dynamically predicting the production of photovoltaic installations based on more accurate meteorological data, which could help better predict and optimize their operation. Solutions to other issues, such as more efficient use of global energy systems (generation, storage, distribution, consumption etc.) are being studied to offer better services to customers.

"Regardless of which projects we choose, the future looks very exciting," adds Le Gouévec.

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