Digitalisation in the Energy Sector – Trends & Opportunities

04 August 2021

Digital technology and digitalisation is everywhere nowadays and is increasingly part of every aspect of our lives – but what does it mean?   

Put simply, digitalisation is the process where information is converted into a digital format that can be processed by a computer. Digital technology can be any electronic tool, system, device or resource that generates, stores or processes data.  Information such as an image, a sound or a signal that is processes digitally becomes represented in digital code, essentially a series of numbers.  Digitalisation (in all aspects of our lives) is important because it makes information easier to preserve, access, use and share.   

Why is digitalisation so important in the Energy Sector? 

In a rapidly changing and increasingly diverse Energy Sector, digitalisation has become focal to the next wave of technological transformation and development whether in traditional oil & gas or in renewable energy production such as wind, wave and solar.   

Digitalisation is helping to improve efficiencies in the exploitation of old energy solutions, allowing for a manageable balance towards the new.  It is paving the way to a more efficient and sustainable future from which it is unlikely we will return! 

Whilst hydrocarbons are generally viewed less favourably in today’s society, they will still have a key role to play in managing a globally sustainable and successful energy transition to more climate friendly energy solutions. Digitalisation in oil & gas can create far better efficiencies, remove uncertainties and risk, and improve health, safety and environmental factors.  Digital transformation and the adoption of energy tech is therefore becoming an increasing criterion to managing a successful future for this sector. 

Digitalisation is transforming the entire value chain 

In all segments of the Energy Sector, digitalisation is transforming the entire value chain.   

The concept of having a digital twin and the application of data is transforming engineering and construction projects, especially in harsh environments where many wind turbines and oil platforms operate.   

The application of data to monitor equipment and operations remotely is making a massive difference in the Energy Sector – and furthermore, predicative maintenance and proactive monitoring and reliability introduces significant cost, time and resource efficiencies.   

Further down the value chain, digitalisation brings more efficiencies in managing the real time balance of supply and demand whether its in commodities trading or electricity and gas transmission. 

There are of course many many other examples of the benefits of digitalisation in the Energy Sector –  and we are really only at the beginning of the digital age! 

A key trend and criteria emerging in the Energy Sector 

Digital tech is a hugely exciting growth area in the Energy Sector. Many organisations and investors who are developing technology, addressing market changes and seeking growth opportunities are doing so with a prerequisite condition that digitalisation is a key feature.  Arguably, this is equally or almost as important to key ESG, particularly environmental conditions.  

There are plenty of organisations emerging, offering digital solutions to traditional challenges – and equally there are very many industry bodies, centres, growth hubs, incubators, investors and incentives to support the next wave of digital Energy technology development.  Often the challenge for any stage of enterprise is knowing where to start, how to get traction and who to turn to first.   

If you have any questions or would like to find out more information, please get in touch with Alasdair Green or your usual AAB contact.  

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