EaaS: Electricity as a Service?

Yueqiang Xu, Petri Ahokangas, Emmanuelle Reuter


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


Purpose: Like a number of other traditional industries, the energy industry is undergoing a major transformation.
With the advent of smart grids, the industry is transforming from a centralized energy system to a distributed energy
network, and from the traditional product-based to a service business model. An essential question is “What
types of value creation and value capture opportunities emerge at the level of ecosystems as the energy and smart
grid industry shifts from the existing product-based business model to a greater service orientation?”

Design: The study utilizes the 4C ecosystemic framework and the XaaS (Everything as a Service) digital service
business model typologies, and collects business model case data from 15 EU Horizon 2020 innovation projects. The
research uses a two-stage approach that includes interpretive case analysis and action research to analyze and create
an ecosystemic business model framework.

Findings: The paper uncovers the following business model typologies for the digitalization of the energy business
ecosystem: Connection as a Service (CaaS), Supply as a Service (SaaS), Data as a Service (DaaS), and Energy Application
as a Service (EAaaS).

Research limitations/Implications: A key outcome is the proposition of the Electricity as a Service (EaaS) concept
for the energy sector, proposing a new service business paradigm for the energy ecosystem. One limitation is that
the research has a strong regional focus on European cases.

Originality / Value: The study adopts a value-based and service-dominant lens focused on business model research
at the ecosystemic level. For the first time, the study introduces the XaaS service business typology, investigating
how this well-established ICT (Information and Communication Technology) business framework can enable
the digitalization of the energy industry.


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.jbm.v6i3.1954