Can digitalization solve the carbon crisis? Can digitalization solve the carbon crisis?
In this episode of Path to Zero, Host Tucker Perkins invites renewable energy expert Mathias Steck to discuss technology’s role in carbon reduction with cleaner, greener energy.
Steck is Head of Renewables in Germany for DNV GL, an international risk management and quality assurance group. He’s traveled around the world from India to China to Singapore building the company’s renewables advisory business. Recently, he made a full circle back to his hometown in Hamburg in his current position. Steck also hosts an energy podcast called DNV GL Talks Energy.
Investing in new and emerging technologies has shown promise in changing energy consumption habits, reducing carbon emissions, and bringing a host of other beneficial things. However, the fear of major cyberattacks is holding many energy companies back from connecting to those smart technologies.
Steck discusses four main points of how technology can help reduce carbon emissions. First, it can generate more renewables, with the switch to more solar and wind. Next, there’s carbon capture technology. Technology can also electrify heat and transport. For instance, an electric car is almost 4 times more efficient than a car with an internal combustion engine. LED lights are another example. Finally, there’s a huge potential of optimizing how we use energy, when we want to use it, which can balance the grid better and also enhance manufacturing processes by taking less energy to get to the same results.
In the next 10 or 20 years, Steck envisions a grid that includes a mix of natural gas and renewable energy to reliably and efficiently deliver clean energy. Over time, the generation mix will lean more towards renewables, especially as innovation continues to progress and more mature storage technologies emerge to help back up the intermittency of renewables.
Steck points out that technologies can play an important part in tackling the climate emergency, provided they are designed and deployed with the kind of positive societal impact that is sustainable. Data is at the heart of sustainable practices. While companies spend more than $450 billion on energy and sustainability initiatives every year, they struggle with data quality and effectively using available data. Better energy management and reporting would help to highlight efficiencies that could reduce carbon emissions.