The energy dimension of the digitization of our society must be a key element in our thinking. The explosion of our storage needs, computing power for all of our new digital needs from the most futile (social networks) to the most essential (simulation for medical research) means that energy needs are growing in parallel.
This explosion in our energy needs has an economic impact, of course, but also an ecological cost that we can no longer ignore! The dimension of sovereignty over our energy production is also a critical subject, because the geopolitical dimension is major on this subject.
In view of the climate emergency, it is crucial that decisions taken in industrial terms are not taken on pure ideological bases, but take into account the benefit / risk and the prioritization over the current risk. From my point of view, nuclear energy remains to this day the energy that will allow us to achieve our objectives of decarbonization of our electricity production (Marianne), and we must not fantasize about the ability to operate only on renewable energies … It is important to invest in R&D on these energy themes, and not to abandon the industrial know-how that we have, as we already have for the nuclear sector. It should also be noted that the possibility of developing ‘smart grids’ for the fine management of energetic demand to confront the right level of production. In all areas it is important to maintain our digital and technological sovereignty.
Apart from these more global aspects, there are several elements on which, individually and industrially, efforts are made and are already bearing fruit or offer future developments in the technologies to be exploited.
First of all, we see that there is no linear link between increasing the capacity of our data centers and energy consumption. As counter-intuitive as this information may seem, current models have not taken into account the great efforts made by Data Center operators to gain energy efficiency (ZedNet).
Then the development of alternative solutions to fossil fuels can become the new standard in the equipment of Data Centers like for example the ‘Fuel cells’, it will probably be necessary to ensure that the production of H2 remains “green” …
We are also fortunate to have in France to have innovative companies, which offer new products that have the potential to be game changer, I am thinking in particular of this Nantes industrial company, Armor, it has just developed a solar panel flexible transparent film.
We can imagine the different possibilities of use that this technological innovation can offer, in order to increase the share of renewable energy on a large number of industrial (including data centers?) or agricultural buildings, but also on our digital objects, such as smartphones or other connected objects.
The energy component of digital transformation is therefore of undeniable strategic interest for France and Europe, never forget that the non-control of one of the links makes us totally dependent on external actors whose interests are not at better not consistent with ours. In addition to having high value-added industrial sectors, in our territories are guarantees on the anchoring of jobs but also on the maintenance of related activities which also provide jobs …