27 Feb 2024, 13:20
Franca Quecke

Faster digitalisation can get Germany closer to 2030 climate targets – IT industry

Clean Energy Wire

Digitalisation can induce almost one quarter (24 percent) of the emission reduction that Germany needs to reach its 2030 greenhouse gas target, according to the country’s digital industry association Bitkom. A report by consultancy Accenture commissioned by the lobby group found that annual CO2 emissions in Germany can be reduced by around 43 to 80 million tonnes in 2030 thanks to digital technologies if the digital transformation is accelerated, with the “biggest levers” in the energy and building sectors. The report assumed a net effect that already considers the additional CO2 emissions from the use of digital technologies compared to the existing trajectory, including data centres and terminal devices, amongst other things. If the digital transformation is not accelerated but continues at its current pace, savings of roughly 50 million tons can be achieved in 2030 — equal to 16 percent of the reduction needed to reach the target that year, according to the report.

“Digitalisation gives us a strong lever to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and increase our competitiveness at the same time,” says Christina Raab, vice president of Bitkom. The report analysed the potential of digitalisation in energy, industry, transportation, buildings, and agriculture. It found that the energy and building sectors offere the largest potential to use digital technologies in the fight against climate change. Crucial applications in the energy sector for example include smart power grids as well as a smart management of renewable energy generation, the report said.

Germany aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Digitalisation will be crucial for the next phase of Germany's energy transition, as it offers enormous potential to speed up its economy’s decarbonisation. The country needs a much more flexible and efficient electricity system based on millions of wind and solar installations that can also power cars and heating, for example. Sensors or smart meters can be used to dynamically balance supply and demand for energy, and their roll-out is already set to become standard in German homes, but probably will not fully materialise for several years to come

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