Climate Change

29 Sep 2022

Digitalising Europe’s Energy Sector to Accelerate Decarbonisation

29 Sep 2022  by   
The EU’s forthcoming action plan on the digitalisation of the energy sector is intended as the next step in the green transition.

Image: EC

The plan is intended to set a new paradigm in how energy is produced and consumed and how the energy infrastructure is utilised, according to Paula Pinho, Director for Just Transition, Consumers, Energy Efficiency and Innovation in the European Commission’s DG Energy.

Speaking in a keynote session at the European Sustainable Energy Week, Pinho said that it is about ensuring that all the players in the system, from generators to consumers, have the tools to monitor and manage their production and consumption and optimise the efficiencies in the infrastructure.

And for this, “data is the currency of digitalisation, with data access and data exchange.”

While aspects of a draft plan have been leaked by Reuters among others and repeated by other media outlets, the facts are in the final plan (which will be presented here when it becomes available).

The plan is focused on five key areas – a data exchange framework, investment promotion and consumer empowerment as opportunities on the one side and cybersecurity and data protection and the carbon footprint of ICT solutions as challenges on the other.

“The question is what we do with the data and first it is about having access and making best use of it and so data exchange is a prerequisite,” said Pinho.

Pearse O’Donohue, Director for Future Networks at DG Connect, speaking in the keynote session, said that underpinning the acceleration of the digital transformation is proper cooperation and coordination between the various stakeholders – the member states, energy providers, industry, consumer groups and energy communities.

“We need to break down the silos so that at every level we are working together on this twin [digital and green] transition.”

O’Donohue said the Commission plans to work with industry to develop the tools and methodologies to assess the climate change impact of enabling digital solutions.

“There’s a lot of work remaining to be done,” he concluded, referring to the “concrete steps” that will be proposed in the energy digitalisation plan.

Among these are the emergence of the new digitalisation hubs and the development of a common energy data space.

“Digital must play its part but also meet its responsibilities.”


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