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- The idea that the green economy can support future growth while also meeting global net-zero targets is gaining widespread acceptance.
- Studies on the impact of initiatives like the US Inflation Reduction Act suggest investments in new energy technologies have a 'multiplier effect'.
- Green tech will be a vital catalyst in the global energy transition, with advanced technologies able to unlock sustainable gains at every level.
Can the green economy support future growth while also helping ensure our net-zero future? Simply, are goals for people, planet and profit mutually inclusive? The idea is gaining widespread acceptance as governments and businesses support and prioritize sustainable investments, including those in technology, for positive outcomes.
Worldwide, energy transition targets alone have attracted a staggering $1.34 trillion in government allocations since 2020, according to the International Energy Agency. Some $130 billion in new government spending across the globe was announced in the first half of this year.
The results of such investments are already becoming apparent.
Over the past year, the US Inflation Reduction Act has prompted companies to invest more than $270 billion in clean energy projects, which should cut emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030.
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In Europe, the REPowerEU Plan has saved almost 20% of the bloc’s energy consumption, with 39% of electricity coming from renewables, and Asia Pacific attracted the most new investment in global renewable energy during 2022, accounting for $356 billion of the sector’s $532 billion value.
Yet, we need to work faster, together, to keep global warming to the 1.5°C threshold. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates some 6 billion tonnes of carbon need to be removed from the atmosphere, a huge amount.
And we don’t have time to lose: the climate is already 1.1°C warmer, with July 2023 reporting the highest-ever ocean surface temperatures.
Leveraging green tech for sustainable gains
Ensuring we stay on track and realize a climate-neutral future hinges on a crucial catalyst: green technology.
Advanced technologies unlock sustainable gains at every level. Innovations in green tech support the decarbonization, drive use of fewer resources, boost efficiency from existing industrial facilities and cut carbon emissions. This is before we consider greenfield facilities, sustainable design and enhanced circularity from resource sourcing to product disposal.
Studies on the impact of the US Inflation Reduction Act suggest that the investments in new energy technologies have a knock-on ‘multiplier effect’ beyond immediate outcomes too.
Preliminary analysis from the Rhodium Group, a research and analysis firm, shows that for every ton of CO2 reduced within the US, an additional 2.4-2.9 tons of emissions are reduced outside the US.
Leading companies are driving innovation and value gains with complementary technologies to support crucial decisions regarding sustainability.
For example, the energy and carbon digital twin, when paired with lifecycle data and insights infused by artificial intelligence (AI), can enable industrial businesses to monitor, analyse and optimize their operations in new ways.
Likewise, expanding workforce connectivity via shared data and cloud-based working models can facilitate a fresh type of agile, location-agnostic collaboration, which leads to a happier, more motivated workforce.
With access to collective data, these connected teams are empowered to be productive and make better decisions for their business and the environment.
Amplifying the gains of green tech
Such an interconnected network of intelligence, also known as a connected industrial economy, helps foster continued innovation, drive systemic decarbonization and efficiency gains, while redefining collaboration and without sacrificing security, reliability or affordability. This sort of cross-business connectivity will be a major contributor in the fight against climate change.
For example, Dominion Energy uses digital insight to boost sustainability across its entire value chain. The Virginia-based company gathers and shares data from its integrated power generating units – including nuclear, gas, wind and solar – on a central digital data highway.
Commercial and residential customers can now access energy consumption metrics in real time to monitor their environmental footprint and track Dominion’s progress against their environmental, social and governance commitments. The company has enjoyed a 50% increase in speed to market for vital environmental data and opened new revenue sources.
And in Europe, Aker Carbon Capture is using cloud-based engineering to boost collaboration between their teams, meaning they can drive 20% efficiency, while in the UK, Brilliant Planet is exploring how digital engineering solutions can enable them to use algae farms as a potential carbon sink to capture emissions.
Meanwhile in China, Norwegian vessel design company Yinson has achieved sail-away of their complex vessels six weeks earlier using digital engineering and design that reduces clashes and the need for rework.
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Overall, green industries, including energy and transport, as well as agriculture and the built environment, could generate economic dividends of $10.3 trillion, or about 5.2% of global gross domestic product by 2050, according to a study by advisory firms Arup and Oxford Economics.
As the green industrial revolution gains momentum, organizations can embrace green tech innovations to embed sustainability at their core, ensuring long term positive outcomes, for people, the planet and profit.
Extending those gains across connected data ecosystems can drive sustainable outcomes at scale. Emerging green tech applications have the power to amplify that impact.
Learn more about AVEVA’s delegation at COP28 and our climate change agenda here: AVEVA at COP28
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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