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Urgency Required For Effective Climate Action

It is now widely accepted within the global community that the need to combat the effects of climate change is an undeniable priority. The challenges of the last few years have slowed the momentum behind the necessary changes, as seen in recent IPCC reports. Rising energy costs and energy security concerns have impacted the speed of progress to a point where urgent action is required to limit global warming.

However, as economies recover from the pandemic and supply chains begin to normalise, the world looks at ways to accelerate the speed of the Energy Transition.



The Challenges Slowing The Energy Transition

There is great progress is being made in Ireland towards decarbonisation. Within the wider ESB Group, we are focused on delivering Scientific Based Targets (SBTs) for our Net Zero by 2040 strategy. This also includes the achievement of Science Based Targets for 2030, progress on which is reported annually. SBTs are validated by the Science Based Target Institute (SBTi). The SBTi is a partnership between CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

This is challenging work due to the impact renewable has on system operation, networks and communities. The following are just a few of the technical challenges that ESB International are assisting market operators, system operators and utilities to resolve within their energy systems:

  • New control and load management approaches to maintain grid stability
  • Maintaining energy security while moving away from carbon intensive fuels
  • Restructuring of functions and processes built for centralised thermal generation
  • Managing the vast increase in data from sensors, IoT (Internet of Things) new asset types, cross-functional data sets
  • Reviewing and advising on the impact of new regulatory and policy initiatives
  • Targeting network enhancement, reinforcement, and investment to support decarbonisation
  • Providing greater access for consumers and communities to take control of their community needs as society electrifies
  • Enhance interoperability with stakeholders while maintaining robust cyber security


Smarter Utilities

For utilities, the energy transition has accelerated the need to invest in digital technologies across all our activities so that we have the resilience and agility to sustain our business in a world where the pace and scale of change is ever increasing.

This is not just about technological change, something utilities are used to, but also transforming our people, processes, and customer experience to meet the challenges of moving from centralised, synchronous thermal generation to enabling the unhindered contribution of growing renewable assets.

Solving the one large problem of reducing carbon emissions generates many new but hugely impactful issues, but these are not insurmountable with the right experience and focus applied.


The Three D’s

A popular model to explain the transition required in energy systems to take climate action is the 3 D’s - Decarbonisation, Decentralisation and Digitalisation. This maxim explains that to Decarbonise, you need to Decentralise the generation of renewable energy, which creates the need for Digitalisation to manage a more complex energy system.



What Do We Mean By Digitalisation?

Digitalisation is key to integrating renewables into electricity systems, improving the reliability of power grids, and reducing the cost of access to electricity, therefore contributing to a more just and equitable energy transition.

Digitalisation has the power to be able to speed up the energy transition by building structures, processes and creating tools to support the ability to add renewable generation and accommodate changing demand more efficiently.

Here are a few examples of ESB International's work with our clients supporting their digital strategies.


Digital Tools

This project in the Philippines illustrates the impact that digital tools can have on improving safety and delivering a more efficient operation and maintenance regime.

Crossing the Bridge to a Digital Utility


Data Analytics

This project outlines how new data analytics approaches can target the optimum network investment required to support the impact of new low-carbon technologies on localised energy systems.

Leveraging Data To Achieve Sustainability And Utility Transformation


Digital Control Strategy

Having a control strategy to develop and maintain systems to support energy security and the energy transition is vital for system operators.

Tanweer 10 year Strategy


Speeding Up The Transition

It is clear that to speed up decarbonisation in the power sector, there is a requirement for systematic change within energy systems, putting pressure on market operators to regulate and incentivise a scale-up in renewable generation meaning that system operators and utilities need to evolve their structures and functions to maintain service and securely.

This challenge can only be achieved through greater collaboration and sharing of experiences, something ESB International has been undertaking for nearly 50 years, working with clients in over 120 countries worldwide.


Utility-Backed Engineering Consultancy

As a utility-backed engineering consultancy, ESB International has extensive experience in assisting clients to Manage, Transform and Transition their energy systems with a range of engineering consultancy and strategic advisory services in transmission & distribution, thermal and renewable power generation, and utility management.

In all our markets, strategic challenges affect millions of people. Our success is built solidly on our experience in delivering electricity to our own country and across the globe, resulting in a social and economic revolution over many decades.



About The Author

Cameron Welsh Cameron Welsh Business Development Manager, Utility Transformation and Energy Transition

About Cameron Welsh

With over 35 years of experience in engineering solutions for critical infrastructure within the UK and across Europe, Cameron Welsh is passionate about the energy transition, having worked on projects such as Ancillary Services, Smart Frequency Control within Networks, Renewable Generation Development, PPAs and Energy Trading. 

Cameron is part of ESB International’s Strategic Advisory and Engineering Design Services team, which has been operating globally for nearly 50 years. ESB International advises on shaping electricity markets and the futures of utilities, helping clients achieve their transformation projects, accelerating the energy transition, and supporting energy security. 

With a career in Business Process Transformation, Data Centres, and Energy Systems, Cameron’s broad experience and solution orientation makes him an excellent advocate to help clients achieve their strategic goals through shared enthusiasm and pragmatism.

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