Defining new pathways for green recovery in a post-Covid worldAre we doing enough to drive the energy transition?
The pressing challenge across the energy industry is this: how do we meet the growing needs of energy supply and demand while proactively delivering sustainable solutions to protect our planet? How do we provide electricity worldwide to nearly 770 million people still without access to power while simultaneously combating the present dangers of climate change?
The solution requires collective action, an innovative ecosystem and diversified initiatives.
Supporting this effort, Siemens Energy joined the 2021 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) from January 18-21. Considered as one of the world’s leading summits to accelerate sustainable development, the series of virtual events and major initiatives brings leaders together from around the world to define pathways for delivering a green recovery in a post-COVID-19 world. Among these events were the ADSW Summit, Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum and the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum–three initiatives where Siemens Energy has been dominantly present this year.
- Siemens Energy’s newly signed Memorandums of Understanding
- Core transformation strategy aspects for a strongly secured future
- Pursuing sustainable development goals
- COVID-19 and the energy sector: Implications, response and resolve
- Confidence in the future
Watch the highlights
During this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, two Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed between Siemens Energy, Mubadala Investment Company, Masdar and other partners to jointly drive the UAE’s green hydrogen sector and the production of synthetic fuels.
The first initiative under this agreement and the broader Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance is the consideration of a demonstrator plant located in Masdar City. This plant would be developed under an agreement between Siemens Energy and Masdar as partners.
Together with Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, Siemens Energy also announced that it is joining forces with the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, Etihad Airways, German Lufthansa, Marubeni Corporation and Khalifa University on an ambitious project to pave the development of the UAE’s green hydrogen economy.
The organizations signed an MoU with the intent to establish a photovoltaic (PV) powered electrolyzer facility. The purpose of this facility is to demonstrate state-of-the-art green hydrogen production technology and present sustainable fuel use cases.
The oil and gas sector is at a crossroads in the midst of the global energy transition. Driven by the need to cut costs, improve efficiency, and reduce emissions, oil and gas companies are now reinventing their offerings to span across the entire digitally connected energy ecosystem.
“Cybersecurity must be at the core of every aspect of companies’ digital transformation strategies—it’s our license to operate,” said Thorbjörn Fors, EVP, Industrial Applications Division at Siemens Energy, during his panel discussion at the Global Energy Forum.
Fors also conveyed that with strong, trusted partnerships, we can fully deliver on the promise of future next-generation technologies and the need to secure that future as we build it. To execute, this will require collaboration, trust and concise data governance.
Finally, he noted, “Connecting is not just about connectivity, it’s about people, connecting people. People with different skills, and different belief systems. Connecting the dots make us better together.”
During the EnergySource Innovation Stream session at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum, the importance of AI technology was also a focus. Leo Simonovich, VP and Global Head of Industrial Cyber and Digital Security at Siemens Energy, discussed the recently released comprehensive report by the MIT Technology Review on Transforming the Energy Industry with AI.
He emphasized that that as energy companies continue to optimize automated systems, control operations remotely, and ensure the affordable and reliable delivery of energy to customers, they must increasingly put AI-driven technologies at the center of their business model to secure digital operations from cyberattacks.
The report takes an in-depth look at how global companies are applying advanced digital technologies to improve efficiency and protect themselves from cyberattacks. It draws insights from leading practitioners in the oil and gas sector and illustrates why AI is the key to unlocking and securing the energy transition.
“Cybersecurity must be at the core of every aspect of companies’ digital transformation strategies—it’s our license to operate”Thorbjörn Fors, EVP, Industrial Applications Division at Siemens Energy
One of the key themes that emerged from the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week was that more progress is needed towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7—universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. But from the ever-decreasing price of solar power to the growing momentum behind carbon neutrality, we have reasons to be hopeful.
Discussing the energy transition and how can corporations be more proactive to think and act on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) principles, Christian Bruch, President and CEO, Siemens Energy stressed that companies can only be successful and drive the energy transition forward if they make ESG a core part of their corporate strategy.
“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda guide us in our plans and we actively endorse the Paris Agreement on climate change. Across Siemens Energy we have set the goal to become climate neutral in our own operations by 2030. It’s been very important for us to act according to our ESG goals and measures from the very beginning when we were first considering our corporate strategy and to make ESG a shaping element of our transformation journey as a company. That’s what motivates us as a company and our employees.”
He concluded his address by emphasizing that Siemens Energy is convinced that a climate-neutral energy supply is not only technologically feasible, but also economically profitable.
"Across Siemens Energy we have set the goal to become climate neutral in our own operations by 2030."Christian Bruch, President and CEO, Siemens Energy
With COVID-19 still a powerful force worldwide, how can countries focus on decarbonization and climate change? Prior to the start of the COVID-19 crisis, significant progress had been made on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, but now, what do feasible and sustainable global energy solutions look like?
“The pandemic has led to a different attitude toward the energy transition,” stated Maria Ferraro, CFO Siemens Energy during her speech at the Sustainable Finance Forum.”
She continued, “Many countries are using their recovery plans to accelerate their transition towards carbon neutrality. In fact, these stimulus packages offer an excellent opportunity to ensure that the essential task of decarbonizing the energy sector isn’t lost amid the flurry of other priorities. The situation is quite different in developing countries where governments may not have the financial means to provide generous stimulus packages.”
With this we realize there is no such thing as a “one energy transition”. There is no “one size fits all" approach when it comes to decarbonizing the energy sector. Each country has its own conditions and priorities. These varying environments require substantial funds for all situations, and we need smart, flexible, and tailor-made financing solutions to support the unique needs of each country.
While some countries still lack sufficient energy supplies, others are looking for ways to upgrade their existing infrastructure.
“In many cases, we need to adopt interim or bridging solutions, always with the ultimate goal of creating a reliable, affordable, and CO2-optimized supply for all people. Natural gas can be very effective as such an interim,” said Tim Holt, Member of the Executive Board, Siemens Energy during a panel discussion at the Global Energy Forum. “Gas turbines capable of running solely on hydrogen or a mix of fuel may just prove to be the missing link on our way to a new energy world.”
He explained that beside ambitious net-zero goals, the energy transition will happen step by step, not overnight, adding that tailored solutions can range from the modernization of existing infrastructure, to focusing on innovations. (e.g. gas, hydrogen).
“In order to achieve the net-zero goals, we have to approach the energy transition comprehensively and jointly with all stakeholders across the entire energy value chain, including generation, consumption and transmission.” He emphasized.
“Gas turbines capable of running solely on hydrogen or a mix of fuel may just prove to be the missing link on our way to a new energy world.”Tim Holt, Member of the Executive Board, Siemens Energy
A report by The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) indicated that in order to meet climate change goals, the deployment of renewables must increase at least six-fold compared to the current plans. Renewables would then make up two-thirds of energy consumption and 85% of power generation. From an economic perspective this would enable faster growth, create more jobs, clean up our cities and reduce health and environmental costs. However, renewable energy is only one part of the equation. We must also account for reengineering power grids with the ability to accommodate this energy transformation.
“Today, the main challenges facing power grids are related to the share of renewable energy into the power mix and fluctuating of power together with the decoupling from the generation and demand side as well as the generation from CO2 which lead to destabilizing the grid,” said Beatrix Natter, EVP, Transmission, Siemens Energy during a panel discussion at the Global Energy Forum.
“The good news is we now have the technology to stabilize power grids and are working now with different stakeholders to ramp it up in the different countries,” she added.
Natter expressed that we must also consider the potential of digitalizing transmission products, adding that with the reduction of the price of technology it’s now more cost efficient.
“Internet of Things technologies can now help connect the different transmission products to support real-time data to enable stakeholders to efficiently manage the grid and provide the opportunity to increase power reliability to eventually form Super Grids.
“We are confident about the future. Energy transformation will happen, but we need energy roadmaps and tailor-made solutions for each country.” She concluded.
We especially look to the oil and gas industry to take significant action given their role in providing affordable power supply to billions worldwide. But to create these customized solutions on a global scale, players across the entire energy value chain must collaborate and commit to action. True success in reaching climate-change goals and achieving equal energy access requires more from all of us.
“We are confident about the future. Energy transformation will happen, but we need energy roadmaps and tailor-made solutions for each country.”Beatrix Natter, EVP, Transmission, Siemens Energy