Green:Net: ICT Could Save 7.8 Gt by 2020

At Green:Net this morning, Molly Webb, head of strategic engagement at The Climate Group, said that applying Information and Communication Technology (ICT) could be applied across transport, buildings, power and industrial building to reduce CO2 emissions by 7.8 gigatons by 2020.
“We wanted to look across the economy at the opportunities for IT to move in the next decade and the decades to come,” Webb said.
Webb gave a few examples of point solutions that could, by themselves, provide large reductions in emissions. Better instrumentation and control over appliances in the home could save anywhere from 5-50 percent of power usage. But there’s still a long way to go before determining how much behavior change could be embedded, and there’s still a large opportunity for extending smart building solutions.
Using smart grid power solutions could also add to emissions savings. Xcel Energy’s smart grid program in Boulder, Colo., for instance, was able to reduce voltage problems by 19 percent and achieve reductions of 3-5 percent of power generation over the baseline, Webb said. However, she said about 85 percent of the smart grid opportunity was around the integration of renewables and optimization of transmission, with around 15 percent demand response and consumer change.
But while different point solutions could reduce emissions significantly, it’s the combination of them that will do the most to make a difference. “These point solutions are really interesting, but often it’s the integration of those that would be most powerful,” Webb said. “We are interested in seeing this 7.8-gigaton opportunity realized, but it’s extremely difficult and fragmented.”