Let’s go! At last November’s online summit, Europe’s politicians added new impetus to the GAIA-X project, initiated by Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of Finance, and Peter Altmaier, Germany’s Minster of the Economy and Energy. The project’s goals are ambitious. GAIA-X aims to become the continent’s benchmark in terms of “cloud data processing infrastructure”. A sizeable challenge for a number of reasons: first, Europe is lagging way behind the US giants, such as Amazon, Google or Microsoft, which are imposing their standards on a market estimated to be worth about $35 billion in 2021, and second, the project addresses some essential questions related to security and privacy. More than 200 European organisations and businesses are already taking part in GAIA-X, which is addressing the issues of sovereignty and economic performance by creating international digital standards that can be used by the greatest number and are independent of the existing major players. ENGIE’s goal is to maintain its technological lead and to protect its independence from its suppliers.
ENGIE: a stakeholder in the future European cloud
The ENGIE Group is closely involved in the project through the group’s Digital and Information Systems Division (DDSI) and the ENGIE Lab CRIGEN, our corporate R&D centre. According to Jacques Sibue, Digital and IT Risk Manager in the DDSI, “ENGIE possesses strong expertise in enabling our customers’ and our partners’ systems to communicate with our own digital platforms, such as Darwin, Nemo, Livin, E-Care or Smart O&M. So, we want to use this experience to take part in the development of a common language that will facilitate data exchanges in the cloud.”
The staff at ENGIE are facing the gigantic task of describing every energy system and creating these digital standards. By way of example, one wind turbine produces 800,000 items of data per day on average, and the inspection of a wind turbine involves taking about 3,000 photos, representing between 100 and 150 GB of data.
Thankfully, the Group has already stolen a lead in this field, as Jacques Sibue explains. “We are already building on the work we did as part of another European project, H2020 Platoon, with our Lab CRIGEN. This project aimed to control and optimise exchanges of energy-related data between consumers, producers or infrastructure managers, and to propose innovative and concrete digital solutions in the realm of energy.”
Today, data is an essential part of our strategy. For our wind farms and solar B2B applications, weather, marketing or operational data (battery charge levels, availability of the panels) can be used to decide whether to sell, use or store the electricity. On the business side, we also use data to design made-to-measure offers or to anticipate the levels of unsubscription. Collecting and analysing this data make it possible to gain a better understanding of customers, employees and suppliers. And, ultimately, to improve the Group’s performance.
Lab CRIGEN’s Deputy Director, Damien Carval, is pleased that the Group is involved. “By taking part in GAIA-X, we will write an Esperanto-like language for a very diverse range of data and digital services that will enable us to increase the agility, interoperability and resilience of our solutions, and to grow. As a renowned player in European research and an expert in interoperability, Lab CRIGEN will do whatever it takes to ensure that the selected solutions address the challenges facing energy, and enable efficient and very concrete applications to be developed for both ENGIE and for society on the whole.”
ENGIE has joined numerous players from the energy sector in this project, such as EDF and ENEDIS, which are all committed to turning GAIA-X into a reality and a success for Europe.
To keep track of the development of GAIA-X, check out our blog.