EaaS: Electricity as a Service?


  • Yueqiang Xu Oulu Business School Martti Ahtisaari Institute University of Oulu, Finland
  • Petri Ahokangas Oulu Business School Martti Ahtisaari Institute University of Oulu, Finland
  • Emmanuelle Reuter University of Neuchâtel, Institute of Management




business model, business ecosystem, service-dominant logic, value-based strategy, XaaS, SaaS, smart grid


1   Purpose

Innovative business models have been transforming and disrupting traditional industries in an unprecedented speed. The energy industry is no exception. The advent of smart grid has initiated paradigm shifts from traditional product-based business models to service provision. An essential question is that, “How can energy industry create and capture new value from service business, turning the existing product-based business model to service orientation?”

2   Research gaps

This study addresses research gaps regarding 1) the value perspective for business model; 2) the ecosystem thinking for complex industries; 3) maximising systemic value for an ecosystem rather than a focal firm.

3   Research design, data collection, and approach

The study collects business model case data from BRIDGE, a high-level initiative of the European Commission uniting 31 major European energy projects. The research includes the full 50 business model cases contributed by experts from 15 EU Horizon 2020 innovation projects.

4   Findings

The study utilises the 4C ecosystemic framework and the XaaS (Everything as a Service) digital service business model typologies. A key outcome is the proposition of Electricity as a Service (EaaS) concept with four service business model typologies for the energy sector, proposing a new service business paradigm for the energy ecosystem.

5   Originality and value

The study proposes a value-based approach and service-dominant logic towards business model research at ecosystemic level. For the first time, the study introduces the XaaS service business typologies, investigating how this well-established ICT (Information and Communication Technology) business concept can enable the digitalisation of the energy industry.

Author Biographies

Yueqiang Xu, Oulu Business School Martti Ahtisaari Institute University of Oulu, Finland

Yueqiang Xu is a Ph.D. researcher at University of Oulu, Finland. His research areas include smart grid, digitalization of energy and ICT related domains. His professional experience in energy industry includes conducting research and consulting projects for energy utilities, smart grid solution providers and regulatory organizations such as the World Energy Council, EDF (France), ABB (Global), ADEME (France), Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Australia), BEAMA (UK), Dong Energy (Denmark), Opower (USA) and the European Union.

Petri Ahokangas, Oulu Business School Martti Ahtisaari Institute University of Oulu, Finland

Petri Ahokangas is an adjunct professor and senior research fellow at Martti Ahtisaari Institute, University of Oulu, Finland. He has worked in leading positions in the academia and industry. His research interests are in how innovation and technological change affect the international business creation, transformation, and strategies in technology-intensive domains. He has over 90 publications in scientific journals, books, conference proceedings. He is actively working in several ICT-focused research consortia leading business-related research streams.

Emmanuelle Reuter, University of Neuchâtel, Institute of Management

Emmanuelle Reuter is a lecturer, postdoctoral research fellow, and project manager at University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. She received her Ph.D. in management from the same institution. Her focus lies in the fields of strategic management and sustainable energy. Her expertise is in the Swiss private banking and in the Swiss and European electric utilities’ industries.