An interview with T&D Europe’s new President, Jochen Kreusel

On 22 March, T&D Europe hosted a General Assembly meeting, welcoming members from all over Europe to Brussels. During this meeting, Jochen Kreusel, was officially announced as the new President, taking over from Yann Fromont. Ahead of his three-year term, we asked him a few key questions to get to know him better and hear about his vision for the association!

You are T&D Europe’s new President. Congratulations!
Thank you! I am Senior Vice President of Hitachi Energy, Zurich, and Global Head of Market Innovation. I studied electrical engineering at RWTH Aachen University, where I was also granted my doctorate. From 1994 to 2020 I worked with ABB, where I held managing positions in marketing and technology.

Within T&D Europe I previously held the position of Deputy President and am a member of the Executive Committee. In addition to this I am a member of the Supervisory Committee of VDE Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies and am a member of several committees of the European Commission and the German government on aspects of the future development of power systems. Finally, I am an honorary professor at RWTH Aachen University, teaching power economics in liberalized electricity markets.

What inspired you to take up this new position?
I have worked in T&D Europe since its very early days, and I am member of the Executive Committee since 2012. During all of these years I have learned how important sharing our expertise and knowledge with policy makers and other stakeholders of power grids is. It’s a natural next step, but at the same time also a great honor for me to have to opportunity representing our industry as President and drive this journey further.

How long have you and your company been an active member of T&D Europe? What drove you to become member?
ABB, where Hitachi Energy belonged to at this time, was a founding member of T&D Europe in 2009. We, together with others, formed T&D Europe because we saw the increasing need to contribute with our knowledge of power technology products and solutions to the European energy transition. The energy transition is a technology game and an opportunity for a sustainable development of Europe with regard to the environment but also to its industry and employment – provided we do it right!

How does T&D Europe help your company to achieve your goals and support your company’s mission?
We at Hitachi Energy are committed to advancing a sustainable energy future for all. We see electricity as the backbone of a sustainably energy system – and power transmission and distribution grids as a core element of this backbone. Power grids are a regulated, societal infrastructure. Hence, interacting with policy makers, our customers and other grid stakeholders is of high importance to ensure that we develop this infrastructure in the right direction.

What do you see as the biggest challenge and opportunity for the electricity transmission and distribution equipment and services industry in Europe today?
European power grids and the entire energy system are subject to a very fundamental transition. Grids need to be enforced and at the same time redefined – and all of this must be done during operation, to maintain the high level of security of supply for European citizens. Challenges are multifold: We need to develop future solutions together with our customers, the regulatory framework needs to be adjusted in order to encourage using these new solutions and last, and last but not least, we need to ramp up production capacities and find enough skilled people.

Where do you see T&D Europe making a difference in addressing these challenges?
T&D Europe combines a unique bandwidth of knowledge. On one side, this spans across the entire power grid and from hardware to all kinds of grid related digital solutions. And on the other side, due to the structure of our membership with European SME’s as well as Europe-centered multinational players, we have access to experiences from everywhere in the world. With this we offer to our members, and to all stakeholders, a deep understanding of the energy transition and the needs resulting from it.

As President, what are the key areas that you would like to tackle in 2023? What are your priorities?
In the first decade of our existence, we had to make our stakeholders aware of the importance of power grids and the need to invest in them in line with all the changes around them. Today, this has been well understood and we certainly can say that we have contributed to this change. The challenge in the future is to increase transparency and certainty for network operators, and our members, on the expected demand of grid components in order to ensure that we will have the required people and production capacities in time.

At the end of 2023, if you could have one achievement, what would you like it to be?
The energy transition and our business environment are complex and multifold. Hence, it’s difficult to pick only one achievement. And in addition, despite the urgency of the energy transition, nine months left in 2023 is not too much! However, considering the fact that one of the main strengths of T&D Europe is the exceptionally high number of people active in our working groups, I would like to ensure that those participating are convinced that the time they spend for T&D Europe is useful, efficiently utilised and helps both our industry and the European societies.