As the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis have demonstratively shown, the over-reliance on fossil fuels is not just responsible for the overwhelming majority of the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but is also a major threat to European security, prosperity and competitiveness of the EU economy.
Reducing the dependence on fossil fuels by accelerating the roll-out of renewables, saving energy and increasing energy efficiency, offers the sole solution for a sustainable, secure and affordable energy future in Europe.
As the EU, its member states, regions, businesses and households are looking for ways to accelerate the clean energy transition, there is one enabler for change that deserves to be looked at more closely: digitalisation.
The Discussion Paper “Digitalisation: An enabler for the clean energy transition”, written by analysts from the European Policy Centre, builds on the findings of a project that was supported by the Vodafone Institute and explores how digitalisation can be an enabler for the clean energy transition.
Experts highlight the need for urgency, and speed, if Europe is to achieve its ambitious action plan, combined with a coherent policy and investment framework at European level. The European Green Deal provides the right strategic direction. Now is the time to combine high-level thinking with concrete action.
To fully unlock the potential of digitalisation in the transition towards sustainable energy systems, built around the active participation of consumers, significant shares of renewables and the efficient use of resources, the EU and member states need to:
- Accelerate work on a common European energy data space, characterised by interoperable data standards, adequate incentives for data sharing and data protection and privacy safeguards for consumers
- Ensure that citizens possess the necessary digital skills and are sufficiently informed to reap the full benefits of the twin transition in terms of consumer empowerment and access to affordable and clean energy
- Put in place the necessary safeguards regarding cybersecurity of energy networks, to ensure that digital transformation does not jeopardise the resilience of EU energy systems
- Use financial tools to accelerate the deployment of digital solutions in the energy sector and equip existing networks with the necessary digital infrastructure
The publication of the discussion paper was accompanied by a policy dialogue with experts from the European Commission, IRENA and the Vodafone Group. A recording can be viewed here.