Task 25 Phase II: Energy services supporting business models and systems


This Task will focusses on identifying energy systems that support the creation and uptake of new user-centered energy services and business models.


Politicians, policy makers and scientists all over the globe emphasise the urge to speed up the process of creating new measures to reduce CO2 emissions, as well as stimulate the production and use of renewable energy. This sense of urgency for energy transition is also felt by many entrepreneurs who expect it to lead to new – big – business opportunities. Although some become successful, many business never outgrow their experimental stage and are still awaiting their big breakthrough. One of the explanations for this shortcoming is the technocratic and product-oriented approach of the energy market and it’s players.

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Earlier research shows that many energy business models are not designed to meet the expectations of the contemporary energy user. Most of the business models in the energy market are traditionally product-oriented, focusing on the moment of purchase, instead of providing long-term value during use. This causes a ‘mismatch’ between the business models of energy solutions and the demand of the energy market, and consequently leads to a low market uptake of new energy solutions.

Nowadays however, most consumer products and solutions are a combination of a product and a service, or even a full service-based proposition. Think of famous examples like Spotify and AirBnB: services providing value to the user during the use phase, enabled by smart and innovative technologies. The energy transition is, in fact, a transition from energy products towards user-centered energy services.

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As most of the companies in the field of energy originate from technological backgrounds, their businesses are built to exploit innovative technologies. Entrepreneurs will not only need to adjust their business model. Training or developing complementary servicing skills or capabilities is a key success factor. Previous research found the following capabilities to be crucial when running a service-oriented business:




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In our work we will focus on key issues:

  • Under which system conditions can an energy service flourish?
  • What are the potentially conflicting system elements?
  • What are the specific needs of an entrepreneur with respect to system support?
  • What instruments or other means are already available to entrepreneurs to meet these needs?
  • What instruments or other means need adjustment to be of support?
  • What new instruments or other means need to be developed?

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In order to identify opportunities within the system as well as create a set of recommendations for the system to become more service supporting, we will take a design approach.


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We envision a flourishing energy services system, in which supply and demand overlap. We want to create a new set of instruments that support the creation and uptake of user-centered energy services. Instruments that enable entrepreneurs to sense what users value, to conceptualise that kind of energy service answers their user’s needs, to orchestrate the energy service experience in a seamless fashion and to stretch and scale existing energy services to meet a wider audience. Only then can we tackle the energy, which is in the interest of all energy service system players – from local governments responsible for municipality emissions to banks providing loans for sustainable home renovations.

How can we help you?

To create better instruments we need to know how we can help entrepreneurs deliver and enable the creation and uptake of energy services. If you have a case available for our research, or if you as a system player have thoughts on ways to improve the system, we would love to explore this with you, in close collaboration.

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D7: visual and pragmatic overview of business model strategies (business model, entrepreneurial capabilities and context stretch or fit actions) for each investigated sector or type of business, including a comparative analysis across countries; in addition a more detailed report will be provided.

D8: Overview of the different types of policy and institutional support available to the different types of business models, where relevant country context and sector context sensitive.

D9: Training road show and living lab interventions

D10: Outreach and dissemination material, includng at least 2 academic/journal publications, potentially a MOOC, and other outreach material highlighting the Task’s work.

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Web resources

Visit http://fittoserve.eu for an overview of our methodologies and example cases from the energy sector.


IEA, 2016. Task 25: Business Models for a More Effective Market Uptake of DSM Energy Services.

Tolkamp, J., Huijben, J.C.C.M., Mourik, R.M., Verbong, G.P.J., & Bouwknegt, R. (2018). User-centered sustainable business model design: The case of energy efficiency services in the Netherlands. Journal of Cleaner Production, 182, 755-764.

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Australia, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden

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Dr Ruth Mourik [NL] OPERATING AGENT ruth.mourik@duneworks.nl
Tony Fullelove [AU] NATIONAL EXPERT tony.fullelove@monash.edu
Joanna Southernwood [IE] NATIONAL EXPERT jo.southernwood@ierc.ie
Matthew Kennedy [IE] NATIONAL EXPERT matthew.kennedy@ierc.ie
Dr Renske Bouwknegt [NL] NATIONAL EXPERT renske@ideate.nl
Lotta Bångens [SE] NATIONAL EXPERT lotta.bangens@aton.se


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