By Vijeth Shivappa
For nearly three decades the United Nation has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits – called COPs – which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’. The climate change has gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority. Energy is at the heart of the climate challenge – and key to the solution. A large chunk of the greenhouse gases that blanket the Earth and trap the sun’s heat are generated through energy production, by burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and heat. Fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions according to United Nation’s Committee on climate action .
To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, emissions need to be reduced by almost half by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.To achieve this, we need to end our reliance on fossil fuels and invest in alternative sources of energy that are clean, accessible, affordable, sustainable, and reliable. The electricity will be the back bone of the entire energy system . Today 20 % of global economy runs on electricity of which 29 % is supplied by renewable Sources .To avoid further global warming , the global energy demand must do rapid transition towards clean energy .The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that 90 percent of the world’s electricity can and should come from renewable sources of energy by 2050.
Clean power combined with electrification is important . In addition to scaling capacity , dealing with all these complexity calls for greater grid flexibility , resilience & reliability with digitalization being a key enabler .
With all the expected growth in deployment of renewables & electrification from a demand perspective, in the global power system of 2050 we will need 4 times todays power generation capacity & we would need to transfer 3 times as much electrical energy.
We have experienced a series of systemic shocks over the past 3 years & now find ourselves in the midst of our dual climate & energy crisis. We must ensure that even as we address immediate challenges such as energy security , market pricing & supply chain , we do not lose our focus & momentum when it to comes to energy transition & decorbonization goals .The “Why” case or the urgency to address climate change is clear .We also know “What” needs to be done . We have also discussed the ” How ” at COP26 .Now it is really about “How Fast” in COP27 .
Each country starting their Net Zero journey at a different point & each country will get there based on their individual journeys .It is therefore extremely important to ensure that the energy transition is just transition & we leave no one behind. The good news is that most of the technologies required for the attainment of the near & mid-term goals until 2030 to be specific already exist. Global Energy system must accelerate adoption of Internet of Things (IoT), Data Science, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning ( AI/ML ) and Hybrid Cloud computing. The digital revolution in energy sector – referred to as Energy 4.0 – involves these advances to build smart grids, manage renewable energy and distributed generation. Faster adoption of Digital Technologies like Data Analytics , Internet of Things ( IOT ) , Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning ( AI/ML ) across the value chain of global energy system will play a key role in advancing a sustainable energy future for all. While we continue to innovate & improve efficiency & reducing cost , deployment of available innovative technologies at speed & scale will be critical to achieve Net Zero .
The role of digital technologies in optimizing energy systems is that of a key enabler in energy load management and mitigating climate change. It can help users by providing real-time product usage and location status data and enabling decision-making through valuable interactions. As an outcome, Digital integration can lead to many value co-creations with intelligent planning of distributed Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) in the energy sector. Combining Digital Technologies with RETs provides an excellent platform for scaling clean energy through various new and efficient business opportunities in the energy sector.
Call to Action : Act Together & Act Now
Ensuring energy system is resilient , flexible & Sustainable is equally important while continuing to drive reliability & affordability. The government, power generation companies , utility industry & infrastructure sector must lead with innovative solutions across the value chain to contribute to COP 27, which is the implementation of COP resolutions . All the key stake holders must be ready & willing to play their part by collaborating with each other to enable a sustainable energy future for all . We must turn this vision in to action .We need to act together & act now.
– All views expressed are personal.