Reaching net-zero with data

  • techUK techUK
    Tuesday26May 2020
    Opinions

    Craig Melson, Programme Manager at techUK highlights how data can make a huge contribution to energy reduction and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Leveraging data can make a huge contribution to reducing our energy reduction and the insight below is a whistle-stop tour of the potential.

The UK needs to reduce its emissions in order to meet not only the internationally agreed Paris Agreement, but also to meet our game changing legal obligation to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 – this means our total carbon emissions must be matched by the carbon we are taking out of the atmosphere.

There are numerous ways to do this with nature based solutions (like peatlands, sea grass and re-forestation) due to take up some of the slack, a switch to renewables (something the UK is making great progress at) and massive technological changes. It is these technological changes we are most interested in at techUK and members are investing in at a rapid base. The World Economic Forum estimates digitisation will cut emissions globally by 15% and is recognised as one of the most promising ways to cut our emissions while generating economic growth.

There is no getting around the fact that decarbonising the whole economy will be expensive, but by utilising datasets we can offset these costs and even generate economic value in the form of new business models and productivity gains. Firstly, better data will avoid the need to reinvent the wheel.  Heavy industry can adapt plant and machinery to make them IoT ready and this allows for better energy management, diagnostics, more efficient running of factories and can minimise the need to spend millions on  new equipment. At the same time this also means energy costs are reduced and there are associated with gains in productivity.

Building owners can create new data visualisations called digital twins which allow for experimentation on how a building can become as energy efficient as possible and how it will impact the surrounding streets. By doing so digitally it allows for new technologies, building processes and materials to be tested at a fraction of the real world cost and that essentially you get ‘decarbonisation-by-design’.

Data is also going to drive wholesale changes to markets too. In the energy sector data will help households become more efficient by learning when occupants are in and out and when electric vehicles become mainstream, data is going to be crucial in managing the demands on electricity grids. This business model called ‘Demand Side Response’ is  already being implemented and services like smart-appliances, domestic energy storage and new tariffs.

To learn more about how data can be leveraged to meet-net-zero and is driving huge changes in the energy, buildings and transport sectors, please get in touch using the details below.

To read more from techUK's Data Analytics week, visit our landing page by visiting here!

  • Craig Melson

    Craig Melson

    Programme Manager | Digital Devices, Consumer Electronics, Export Controls and Environment and Compliance
    T 020 7331 2172

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