the view from heti

How AI technology is advancing a low-carbon future

As the world becomes more reliant on renewable energy, artificial intelligence is proving to be a major game-changer. Photo via Getty Images

In the midst of a continuously changing global energy landscape, industry experts, leading energy companies and corporations have rallied together for one common goal: to reach net zero by 2050. As the demand for energy increases, so does the urgency to develop more energy efficient technologies that reduce emissions.

As the world becomes more reliant on renewable energy, artificial intelligence is proving to be a major game-changer. AI is one of the world’s largest disruptors in tech to date with some tech giants pouring millions into research surrounding AI technologies.

While artificial intelligence may not be the first thing to come to mind when talking about the energy industry, it’s already proven its value in fueling the energy transition in multiple domains: improving renewable energy forecasting, grid operations, materials innovation and more. Companies like Accenture have shown how artificial intelligence can play a huge role in steering the energy transition toward a more efficient future.

As a technology services provider, Accenture bridges the gap between technology and human ingenuity to solve some of the world’s most complex issues. With more than 15 years of leadership in metaverse-related technology and more than 1,400 patents, the Accenture Metaverse team brings together metaverse-skilled professionals and market-leading capabilities across Accenture.

The Dublin, Ireland-based company recently announced plans to invest more than $3 billion in artificial intelligence and double its AI-related staff to accommodate demands. Accenture also plans to use generative AI for client work and launch an AI Navigator for Enterprise platform to help guide AI strategy, use cases, decision-making and policy.

With decades of investments and patents, Accenture is no stranger to AI. The company also recently introduced their Net Zero Metaverse, an immersive experience that allows users to explore the future of energy, at the third annual Future of Global Energy conference hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership and the Houston Energy Transition Initiative presented by Chevron. The innovative software system consists of multiple digital worlds including a Charge Stations of the Future, Energy Transition Igloo, a Space Lab and Hydrogen Heights, a renewable-powered neighborhood named after The Heights of Houston.

While Accenture is helping to shift to a more sustainable future, three ways that AI software has already transformed the way we generate, distribute and consume energy are through smart grids, optimized electricity consumption and electricity mobility.

Smart Grids
AI technology can help optimize the efficiency of smart grids, reducing the number of outages and mitigating impact for both residential and commercial customers. In its ability to analyze data collected by smart grids, AI can predict the demand of energy and adjust the flow of electricity accordingly.

Optimized electricity consumption
According to the World Economic Forum, reducing carbon emissions in buildings will be critical to achieving net zero emissions by 2050; buildings represent 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions. AI powered smart buildings and homes can help to reduce energy consumption and operating costs. With the ability to analyze data from sensors and other sources, AI software can identify patterns, predict equipment failures and maintenance needs and help building managers schedule maintenance repairs more efficiently.

Electricity mobility
According to the Congressional Budget Office, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States with CO2 emissions representing about 97% of the global warming potential of all greenhouse emissions. AI software plays a key role in monitoring driving conditions, speed and load levels predicting the most efficient way to use available energy. AI software also helps in safety management and aids in the race to a pollution-free eco-friendly environment.

While AI technology is still advancing, and there is uncertainty in its accuracy, this breakthrough technology is shaping the future of society offering new approaches to optimize energy systems’ operation and reliability.

Learn more about what companies like Accenture are doing with AI technologies.

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This article originally ran on the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative blog. HETI exists to support Houston's future as an energy leader. For more information about the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, EnergyCapitalHTX's presenting sponsor, visit htxenergytransition.org.

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A View From HETI

The combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology. Photo via Getty Images

SLB announced its plans to combine its carbon capture business with Norway company, Aker Carbon Capture.

Upon completion of the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of this year, SLB will own 80 percent of the combined business and ACC will own 20 percent.

According to a SLB news release, the combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology.

“For CCUS to have the expected impact on supporting global net-zero ambitions, it will need to scale up 100-200 times in less than three decades,” Olivier Le Peuch, CEO of SLB, says in the release. “Crucial to this scale-up is the ability to lower capture costs, which often represent as much as 50-70% of the total spend of a CCUS project.

The International Energy Agency estimates that over one gigaton of CO2 every year year will need to be captured by 2030 — a figure that scales up to over six gigatons by 2050.

"We are excited to create this business with ACC to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technologies that will shift the economics of carbon capture across high-emitting industrial sectors,” Le Peuch continues.

SLB is slated to pay NOK 4.12 billion — around $379.4 million — to own 80 percent of Aker Carbon Capture Holding AS, which owns ACC, per the news release, and SLB may also pay up to NOK 1.36 billion over the next three years, depending on business performance.

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