Technology Record - Issue 27: Winter 2022

74 V I EWPO I NT their energy bills, whilst simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint. Residents can now decide what to heat, room by room. They can even use weather forecasting to automatically decide when the heating needs to be turned on or off and avoid even more waste. Technologies like these, coupled with households increasingly generating their own energy to live more sustainably will be essential to protect against price hikes and make our energy infrastructure more resilient. But this at-home energy revolution will only be considered a success if all homes can take advantage of energy-saving digital technologies. Support from governments will be vital to spur adoption and close the energy poverty gap. 3. In grids The notion of a single, one-directional grid powered solely by large fossil fuel producers is fast becoming obsolete. Digital technologies, combined with an increasing share of renewables, are making grids bidirectional, resilient, cleaner and capable of balancing demand anywhere. Using more locally generated, decentralised and renewable energy sources in microgrids will also be key for the grids of the future. Generating energy closer to where it is consumed helps to efficiently combine multiple incoming power sources safely and reliably, and reduces energy wasted across transmission lines. With climate change contributing to more extreme weather events around the world, innovations such as mobile solar microgrids can be deployed to help disaster-hit communities quickly restore power and build back better, and in a much more sustainable way. Despite all these ready-to-go solutions, the rate of global improvements to energy-saving measures fell to its slowest in a decade in 2020, according to research from the Financial Times. And now with energy security a genuine concern for so many of us, it’s time to take more action. If we don’t, we risk exacerbating the energy crisis and failing to meet urgently needed emissions targets. Long-term decarbonisation of the world’s energy will come from two sides. Around half will come from switching to clean energy, and this is widely accepted. The other half will come from tackling energy demand with increased electrification – with more things that can run on this clean energy – and energy efficiency to eliminate energy waste. The current energy crisis in parts of the world may well be the catalyst for the much-needed action on energy demand. By arming ourselves with the digital technologies to fight each and every energy efficiency battle, we can curb energy waste, build up our resilience and reach low-carbon energy independence faster. And we’ll benefit both environmentally and economically in the process. Olivier Blum is the executive vice president of energy management at Schneider Electric “ The current energy crisis in parts of the world may well be the catalyst for the much-needed action on energy demand”