My European news roundup
Our hopes and dreams for a sustainable future begin and end with energy — making the transition from fossil fuels to clean power a planetary priority. Europe is providing real global leadership, pioneering an unprecedented shift to renewables and minimal waste based on cutting-edge technology and smart strategic innovation. Everywhere I look, from businesses themselves to the collaboration between policymakers and industry leaders, there are examples of coordinated change powered by technological innovations — from optical fibre to Artificial Intelligence and cloud computing. Here are just a few of the latest developments from across the continent:
King coal dethroned: Europe’s energy revolution passed an inspiring landmark last week, confirming its pole position in the transition to green power. An announcement by French utility EDF that it will close the West Burton coal-fuelled power plant in England next year means half of Europe’s coal plants will have shut down by 2030. The closure takes the number of European coal-fuelled plants that have either closed or announced a retirement date before 2030 to 162 out of 324. Phasing out coal is key to tackling climate change and Europe is ahead of the game — coal is in sharp decline and renewables overtook fossil fuels for the first time this year in electricity production. Moreover, sustainability has risen to the top of Europe’s business agenda as a range of factors align to strengthen the case for a green energy transition and companies recognise the competitive benefits of a twin transformation, fusing sustainability with state-of-the-art technology.
Digitalisation at the service of clean energy: If you are looking for a bright spark to illuminate how smart digital strategy can unlock value while supercharging sustainability, you can’t do much better than Nexans, the French fibre optic cable giant, which has teamed up with French supply chain visibility specialist Shippeo. They are implementing an innovative digital service that leverages automation and AI to create an agile, data-driven supply chain supporting Nexans’ global deliveries. The partnership will enable Nexans to deliver new value-added services for customers such as real-time tracking, accurate prediction of arrival time, and incident management for shipments. Nexans is a key player in Europe’s shift to renewable energy, making possible the visionary NordLink energy project, for example, and digitalisation is integral to its mission to put clean electricity at the heart of change. It is another example of how innovation is fundamental to European sustainability ambitions.
Every cloud has a green lining: The German port of Kiel has demonstrated the sustainable value of cloud technology by deploying it to help monitor and control energy consumption. It is using technology from Siemens to monitor energy use through a cloud-based system that collates a wide-range of data to improve the operation of its shore power system. This enables ships to connect to an onshore power plant rather than use their own generators — helping to boost air and noise quality in the process. The system enables energy consumption to be monitored at several key sites by displaying how much is being drawn at any time, allowing the port to boost efficiency and cut waste. It is a great example of how transportation systems across Europe are using technology to gather data and enhance operations. A subsidiary of Ferrovial, for example, is helping to monitor and analyse traffic in Kent, England. In France, meanwhile, railway group SNCF Réseau is using real-time geolocation data to help trains run on time.
The cumulative impact of these changes explains why Europe is taking the lead. All these businesses have instinctively understood the reality that now underpins the energy transition — sustainability is no longer an option, but a competitive imperative
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.