University of Bayreuth, Press Release No 093/2021, 09 July 2021
Decarbonisation through digitalisation: Theses on the transformation of the energy industry
A joint thesis paper by the University of Bayreuth, the Business Informatics of Fraunhofer FIT Project Group Business & Information Systems Management, and TenneT TSO GmbH provides new impetus in the discussion on the decarbonisation of the energy industry. The authors elaborate on the importance of digital CO2 verification as a promising instrument for the further electrification of the heating and transport sectors.
The successful and rapid achievement of sustainability and climate protection goals is one of the main tasks of government, business, and society today. Against this background, the energy industry can and must continue to make a significant contribution to decarbonisation in Germany and throughout Europe. For a successful transition to a sustainable energy system within the framework of the Paris Climate Agreement and the European Green Deal, the energy industry must now be comprehensively modernised.
Researchers at the University of Bayreuth, together with the Fraunhofer FIT Project Group Business & Information Systems Engineering, and TenneT TSO GmbH, have investigated the role of digitalisation in this process. The results have now been published in the thesis paper "Decarbonisation through Digitalisation: Theses on the Transformation of the Energy Industry". The aim of this paper is to intensify the discussion on the digitalisation of the energy industry and, in particular, to outline recommendations for action.
An essential building block on the path to climate neutrality is the electrification of further sectors. Accordingly, the paper discusses the role of grid expansion with regard to sector coupling and emphasises the importance of the end-to-end digitalisation of energy industry processes. Co-author Jens Strüker, Professor for Information Systems & Digital Energy Management at the University of Bayreuth, says: "Today, there are millions of renewable plants, heat pumps, stationary electricity storage units, and electric vehicles already in existence as energy producers or storage units, but they are excluded from direct and active market participation. Technologies such as blockchain and machine learning, in combination with decentralised digital identities, would enable their active participation and thus the end-to-end digitalisation of electricity markets." The thesis paper elaborates on the importance of precisely these decentralised digital identities as a promising instrument to overcome the current digital gap, and thus refers in particular to the need for digital CO2 proof ofr end-to-end decarbonisation. "A hitherto neglected instrument for successful decarbonisation is digital proofs of origin and use of electricity. This is because they make it possible to finally make the CO2 footprint of economic activities visible and verifiable. Digital proofs of origin and use are thus an essential element for a viable system of CO2 pricing", emphasises Prof. Strüker.