AI as an accelerator of the energy transition

Published on: 14 September 2021

Opportunities for a CO2-free energy system

On 14 September 2021, the Energy and Sustainability working group publishes the position paper “AI as an accelerator of energy transition“, in which the opportunities for a CO2-free energy system are outlined. According to Mathijs de Weerdt, chairman of the Energy and Sustainability working group, the position paper is a guideline for AI research and innovation within the energy sector. The position paper also serves as a stepping stone for working together with stakeholders in the sector towards the ambition to accelerate the energy transition.

Mathijs: “In the next ten years, the Netherlands wants to take major steps towards increasing the amount of renewable energy produced and the electrification of heat demand and mobility. This wish requires a complete and highly complex transformation of the energy system. In the Netherlands, a great deal of attention is paid to the involvement of the regions and the various interested parties in this transition. This increases the complexity of the decision-making process. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can make an important contribution to accelerating this energy transition.”

AI can be used, among other things:

  • To support the decision-making process for complex, strategic choices.
  • For operational optimisation of production, consumption flexibility and distribution.
  • For predicting and anticipating maintenance and automating inspection and maintenance.
  • In supporting the need for energy storage and demand management of highly fluctuating and not perfectly predictable sources like wind and sun, where end users play an active role in the energy system.

The development of the required AI technology offers the Netherlands a unique opportunity to take the lead internationally and to export this technology.

Pallas Agterberg, Director of Strategy at Alliander and also a member of the coalition’s Strategy Team: “Making the energy system more sustainable means that numerous innovative solutions must be developed, but it is not always clear which actors will play which role in this. The position paper focuses on the societal task and translates it into AI. One of the challenges in the energy sector is to share relevant data in a responsible way on a large scale. By working together with knowledge institutions and companies, we create the conditions for a strong Dutch ecosystem.”

Ambition of the working group

The Energy and Sustainability working group has the ambition to accelerate the energy transition in the Netherlands with the help of AI. The position paper describes a long-term vision on the opportunities and innovation challenges for AI to contribute to the energy transition. No specific scenario or vision is chosen, but the various possibilities are considered, derived from, among others, the integral knowledge and innovation agenda for the energy transition. The position paper ‘AI as an accelerator of energy transition‘ serves as a basis for discussions with stakeholders and for defining calls and forming consortia, for example within the framework of the AiNed Investment Programme.

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