An electrified and digitised world is one of the keys to solving issues that countries and economies face in relation to climate changes. We need smart electrification everywhere – within households and offices, industrial facilities, and transportation. Author: Jacek Łukaszewski, MEE Cluster President, Schneider Electric.
Today, as much as 80% of carbon emissions are related to energy production and consumption. This, together with the fact that losses at the energy management level are as high as 60%, helps us decide where to look in search of a sustainable and more stable future.
Abandoning the use of fossil fuels and transitioning to clean energy, managed smartly, can be an effective approach for countries to take into consideration when thinking about achieving widespread decarbonisation and global climate neutrality. We can define this policy as Electricity 4.0 - a reference to the term Industry 4.0. Estimations indicate that by 2040 the overall share of electricity will double, and the use of solar and wind power will increase as much as six-fold.
Digital innovation makes energy smart
We can treat the topic of Electricity 4.0 as a set of technological solutions in the field of digitalisation, allowing countries and enterprises from different business lines to achieve the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement, a response to the 80% of global carbon emissions coming from buildings and industry. Solutions include, among others, energy monitoring, process automation, energy consumption and cost analysis, reactive power compensation and the possibility of fully remote management of electrical infrastructure.
Electricity is the most efficient energy source and the best vector for decarbonisation. Combined with state-of-the-art technology, it is also an extremely effective tool in the fight against energy waste for a sustainable future.
Based on the Internet of Things, smart and secure cloud technology that includes monitoring and analytics allows energy to be used to its full potential, thereby delivering unprecedented savings and optimisation from the short- and long-term perspective. This is the great change that will result in a global shift to sustainability over the next few decades. As our experience shows, only the implementation of systems allowing for forecasting and optimisation of electricity consumption can lead to savings of up to 20% in the use of resources. If we combine this with necessary investments in power infrastructure and modification of the energy mix in favour of “greener” options, we have a ready recipe for success.
Although surveys conducted among Polish entrepreneurs show that a vast majority of companies are in favour of digitisation, both Poland and Europe have a lot of catching up to do in this area in relation to some Asian and North American countries. This is demonstrated by the fact that European companies rate their competitive advantage in terms of technical capabilities for data management lower than others, pointing to various legislative or financial barriers. Conscious use of the opportunities of the European Green Deal and a significant increase in investment in digitisation - also in the area of energy management - can help in playing catch up.
Dziennik Gazeta Prawna - wydanie cyfrowe
Currently, the very way we “manage” energy basically boils down to the simplicity of “counting” it. How we operate is inefficient at its core and failure to optimise simply means generating additional costs. This is where smart analytics comes into play, to correctly estimate the best outcomes - when energy is best to buy and when to sell to be as cost-effective as possible. Power generated from renewable sources is not stable, being dependent on weather conditions, which makes proper energy management even more important. The only way to ensure stable energy supply in a system based on many dynamic sources is to dramatically increase the “intelligence” of the electric grid. Modern and safe analytical and predictive systems can make this possible. They facilitate a dynamic reaction to present and future demand, so the whole system operates seamlessly and effectively.
Electrical energy is managed best when we build our efficiency efforts on a reasonable, data-led basis. An advanced infrastructure (such as energy storage solutions) is required to become conscious consumers and prosumers and will enable us to extract the maximum potential - financially as well as energetically - from our resources.
We must remember - Electricity 4.0 requires not only a far-reaching energy transformation, but also a new approach to its management. We are aware of this in Poland, while realising that we need time and resources for further investments. Poland’s full smart energy transition is estimated to cost up to €350 billion. This illustrates the scale of the operation. Fortunately, we are increasingly generating energy in a distributed manner, as well as with mass use of digital technologies, which makes the energy itself smarter.
Electricity 4.0 is an opportunity for all of us: for business to build a competitive advantage, for citizens to enjoy access to cheap electricity, and finally, for our planet to stop the process of climate destruction. All of this together should strengthen our belief that action is needed here and now. ©℗