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Data is pivotal to the green energy transition


Data is pivotal to the green energy transition

As the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference - or COP27 - nears, the world will be looking to global leaders for answers, solutions and commitments as they gather in Egypt. - Finextra

Climate change and the environment continues to be a huge issue for business, governments and society at large, and the technology sector is no different. In fact, global spending on low carbon technologies hit a new record of $755 billion in 2021, according to data group Bloomberg NEF.

Energy generation and consumption is a key area of focus for obvious reasons - with many looking to renewable sources such as wind, solar, methane and nuclear. Added to this, is the issue of energy security (exacerbated by Russia’s war on the Ukraine) - meaning a delicate balance needs to be struck between securing enough energy, climate security and cost. 

Irrespective of the methods, they will all require accurate data collection, monitoring and management to track progress and success. This is where emerging technology can help accelerate the transition. Technologies such as blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning enable companies to adopt a data-first strategy.

By collecting data from the outset and throughout a company’s operations it can become a valuable asset that can be evidenced and shareable - ultimately making it trusted. 

The toll of the last few years - pandemic, conflict and rising climate change awareness - has forced us to reconsider what we want from energy supply chains - including issues of security, reliability, cost and agility, but also traceability and transparency. It needs to be resilient enough to withstand the next crisis.

Even at a consumer level, energy consumption is a more conscious action - with suppliers asking for monthly meter readings and the uptake of smart meters, which link usage data with cost in real time. And arguably more so than ever as costs spiral. 

Accurate data is critical to navigating the short-term energy security challenges as well as longer-term climate risks. For governments in particular, this is crucial as economic policy is heavily reliant on associated costs, and energy costs are the biggest driver of inflation, meaning up-to-date data is pivotal to its management strategy. 

The cloud, blockchain and AI will be fundamental for data capture, storage and analysis to support a new energy grid. Combining these technologies will transform the way it is managed.

The smartphone revolution is also widening access - anyone of any size and any digital capability can now participate in a wide digital ecosystem. 

While we await the outcome of COP, what is clear is that any solutions must include a clear, verifiable and trusted data strategy to enable us to accurately assess the transition from carbon to clean energy. 

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