Grandstand | “What role for IT in the energy transition and decarbonization? »

The last episodes of heat waves and fires in the summer echo the scale of the climate crisis, to which is now added the energy crisis. To accelerate the energy transition and firmly pave the way to a decarbonized future “it is essential to combine innovative IT solutions and a new generation of data-driven autonomous operational systems”, says Nicolas Jumel, Presales Director at Dell Technologies.

The objectives of the Paris Agreement and the surge in energy prices, particularly linked to diplomatic tensions, strongly encourage us to rethink our model. An unprecedented global collaboration has also emerged between the various stakeholders that are governments, industry and the general public. A collaboration that is both necessary and urgent.

For example, the EU’s REPowerEU program aims to ensure a reliable energy supply through a novel self-sufficiency strategy. This initiative is based on the desire to stimulate innovation in the field of renewable energies, thus affirming the essential role of technology at a crucial time.

From a traditional approach to leadership, using technology

The essential role of IT in the process of energy transition is no longer in doubt. The progress of decarbonization and the control of supply are the essential elements of this transition. The shift from centralized power generation dominated by fossil fuels, to distributed energy resources (DER) leveraging wind, solar and other renewable sources, requires a transformation of the operational technology systems traditionally used.

The public sector can contribute to this development in several ways. On the one hand, by establishing a regulatory framework that gives energy players the confidence to invest in a reliable, resilient, carbon-free and affordable energy ecosystem. On the other hand, by investing fiscal stimulus funds for projects that promote the transition to zero carbon emissions. Furthermore, creating a lasting partnership between industry and academia would accelerate the commercialization of innovative green technologies.

To face the major challenges linked to climate change, it is necessary to adopt many proven solutions and innovative technologies and to involve the various stakeholders (industry, businesses, consumers, etc.). The public sector can also play a central role in reducing energy consumption, by prioritizing investments for critical infrastructure, integrating smart grids and distributed stand-alone systems. Through these grid-connected systems, homes and businesses can be powered with renewable energy, with any excess electricity produced being fed back into the grid.

Edge and IoT, two key technologies

To achieve their goals and maximize reliability, durability, and low cost, both public and private sectors can leverage modern distributed architectures and standalone capabilities that can be deployed at the edge of the energy grid. This can support the operation of a distributed energy system by continuously analyzing changes in supply, demand and usage patterns, without having to go through a data center.

The IoT is proving to be a strategic tool for reducing consumer energy consumption. Indeed, thanks to the exploitation of data, the IoT is able to manage production, optimize consumption and energy storage.

Data has an essential role to play in the management and optimization of energy needs, as well as in the implementation of a global and common approach by the various stakeholders: public sector, private sector, citizens.

The essential role of operational technology

Operational technology refers to the hardware and software to operate energy systems. It is the IT resilience on which national infrastructure and energy networks entirely depend. The complexity of these systems increases dramatically as they support distributed energy resources, storage, and numerous network endpoints (such as electric vehicles, smart homes, factories, and offices). This generates huge amounts of data at the edge of the network, which must be analyzed in real time to obtain insights that can be used by a new generation of autonomous systems.

These systems will help manage demand and optimize storage for consumers and utilities, as well as schedule loads (such as electric vehicle charging).

Frugal supercomputers at the service of the transition

Energy-efficient supercomputers continue to solve complex energy challenges in hundreds of application areas. Some of these supercomputers are capable of performing 52 million billion mathematical operations per second, while using mostly solar energy.

These technologies are key to expanding future power generation, accelerating the energy transition to sustainable methods, and advancing decarbonization.

Cutting-edge technologies, drivers of the energy transition

To accelerate the energy transition and firmly pave the way to a decarbonized future where energy is abundant and affordable for all, it is essential to combine innovative IT solutions and a new generation of data-driven autonomous operational systems.

By investing in innovative clean energy technologies, the public sector will take a decisive first step towards radically improving prospects for the future world. We therefore have the opportunity to rethink the most critical sectors for the decades to come. Our future looks bright, provided it is green.

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