Drivers and effects of digitalisation on energy demand in low carbon scenarios

Bergman, Noam and Foxon, Timothy J (2022) Drivers and effects of digitalisation on energy demand in low carbon scenarios. eceee 2022 Summer Study, Presqu’île de Giens, Hyères, France, 6 Jun 2022 - 11 Jun 2022. Published in: eceee 2022 Summer Study proceedings: agents of change.. 155-164. Eceee ISSN 2001-7960 ISBN 9789198387893

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Abstract

The world is currently facing two socio-technical transitions: shifting to a low-carbon society, and a digital revolution. The spread and adoption of ICT does not automatically lead to reduction in energy demand, if this stimulates new energy-using practices or wider economic growth. Despite this policy challenge, the two transitions are often considered separately. This study examines potential drivers of reductions or increases in energy demand due to digitalisation, as identified in recent leading global and UK net zero transitions scenarios. These include direct effects; indirect and rebound effects relating to home energy use and transport; and effects on economic growth. Specific effects of digitalisation on energy demand are then identified, which reflect projections in the scenarios. These imply that the future pathways adopted for digitalisation will have a significant impact on future energy demand and hence on the feasibility and acceptability of achieving net zero goals. Our main method is coding by searching for quantitative and qualitative statements in the scenarios relevant to digitalisation and energy. Our initial findings point to a variety of drivers and assumptions that affect energy demand via digitalisation. These include user engagement with technology, consumer awareness and new user roles as prosumers; technological evolution including efficiency and longevity of devices, and changes to number of devices, usage and data; patterns of energy demand; business models and more. In upcoming research, we will engage with stakeholders from business and industry, academia, government and the third sector to consider the plausibility of different drivers of digitalisation, in order to better inform policy. This suggests opportunities for further research and improving policy interactions between these two transitions, and stimulating greater public debate on the different framings for an ICT-driven low carbon transition.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Keywords: digital, low carbon targets, long-term scenarios, energy demand
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2022 08:44
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2022 11:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/107618

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