Digitalisation of the energy sector
As the technological transformation from analogue to digital advances, digital technologies will make energy systems more connected, intelligent, efficient, reliable and sustainable over the coming decades. Some of the technologies that can innovate the way we use energy and help find solutions to decarbonise our energy systems are
- information and communication technologies (ICT)
- modern sensors
- big data and artificial intelligence
- the internet of things (IoT)
Digitalisation and the extensive use of data comes with a set of challenges and it requires preserving high privacy, security, safety and ethical standards, particularly for cyber security matters. Ensuring that the ICT sector is efficient and renewable-based in its energy use is also very important. In addition, the development of digital solutions needs an infrastructure fit for the future, with common standards, gigabit networks and secure clouds of both current and next generations.
EU action plan for digitalisation of energy
The EU strategy for energy system integration (2020) sets out key actions to drive the clean energy transition. One of them is a system-wide digitalisation of energy action plan that aims to contribute to the EU energy policy objectives by supporting the development of a sustainable, (cyber)secure, transparent and competitive market for digital energy services, ensuring data privacy and sovereignty, and also by supporting investment in digital energy infrastructure. It further aims to ensure that digitalisation of the energy system is fully part of the green energy transition and also consistent with the digital targets for 2030.
- The action plan, presented as a roadmap is open for consultation by public authorities, businesses, civil society organisations and the public until 10 September 2021
- Feedback from the roadmap will be integrated in the open public consultation, which will be launched by mid-September and run for a period of 12 weeks
- In addition, the Commission will engage with stakeholders through events, workshops and meetings to gather input for the drafting of the action plan
- The adoption is tentatively foreseen for Q1 2022
Impacting the energy value chain
Digitalisation has an impact along the entire energy value chain, ranging from generation to transport, distribution, supply and consumption.
It can also help integrate the growing share of renewable energy by delivering flexible electricity systems that provide demand side solutions and energy storage, including for sectors that are difficult to decarbonise.
A system-wide approach is needed so that digitalisation of energy can better contribute to reach the EU’s ambitious political priorities, including the European Green Deal and making the EU fit for the digital age.
Energy digitalisation projects
The European Commission promotes digitalisation of the energy system through research and innovation projects in the framework of Horizon Europe research programme, in synergy with other programmes, such as the Digital Europe Programme (DEP).