Digital Decarbonization: Promoting Digital Innovations to Advance Clean Energy Systems

Digital Decarbonization: Promoting Digital Innovations to Advance Clean Energy Systems

by Varun Sivaram


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A digital revolution is sweeping the global energy sector. As energy industries produce ever more data, firms are harnessing greater computing power, advances in data science, and increased digital connectivity to exploit that data. These trends have the potential to transform the way energy is produced, transported, and consumed.

An important potential benefit of this digital transformation of energy is a reduction in global emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change; the elimination of such emissions from the global economy is known as decarbonization. By enabling clean energy systems that rely on low-carbon energy sources and are highly efficient in using energy, digital innovations in the energy sector can speed decarbonization. Yet they are not guaranteed to do so. In fact, digital innovations could well increase global greenhouse emissions, for example, by making it easier to extract fossil fuels.

To determine the potential for digital technologies to speed a clean energy transition and to make recommendations to promote this outcome, the Council on Foreign Relations convened a workshop in New York, on February 22 and 23, 2018. Participants laid out a wide range of areas in which digital technologies are already enabling clean energy systems and could achieve much more; they also cautioned about serious risks that will attend the digitalization of energy and need to be managed; and they articulated actionable recommendations for policymakers in the United States and abroad to ensure that digital innovations bring societal benefits and, in particular, speed decarbonization. Digital Decarbonization summarizes the insights from this workshop and includes contributions from fourteen expert authors delving into these topics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780876097489
Publisher: Council on Foreign Relations
Publication date: 06/18/2018
Pages: 146
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.31(d)

Table of Contents


Varun Sivaram: Introduction

Stephen D. Comello: Trends in Early-Stage Financing for Clean Energy Innovation

David G. Victor: Digitalization: An Equal Opportunity Wave of Energy Innovation

Lidija Sekaric: A Survey of Digital Innovations for a Decentralized and Transactive Electric Power System

Ben Hertz-Shargel: How Distribution Energy Markets Could Enable a Lean and Reliable Power System

Peter Fox-Penner: The Implications of Vehicle Electrification and Autonomy for Global Decarbonization

Rohit T. Aggarwala: Autonomous Vehicles and Cities: Expectations, Uncertainties, and Policy Choices

Kyle Bradbury: How Data Science Can Enable the Evolution of Energy Systems

Sunil Garg: Applying Data Science to Promote Renewable Energy

Erfan Ibrahim: Managing the Cybersecurity Risks of an Increasingly Digital Power System

Jesse Scott: Managing the Economic and Privacy Risks Arising From Digital Innovations in Energy

Richard Kauffman and John O’Leary: How State-Level Regulatory Reform Can Enable the Digital Grid of the Future

Hiang Kwee Ho: Lessons from Singapore’s Approach to Developing Clean and Digital Energy Systems

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