Matthias Rebellius Opinion - 24/October/2023

What the industry can do about heat and change

A digital revolution can help accelerate the energy transition as the world adapts to its changing climate, says Matthias Rebellius at Siemens

Elevate your listening experience, try our app – iOS / Android

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of FORESIGHT Climate & Energy


The technology is available now, so speed is of the essence

Europe’s recent severe heat wave saw temperatures soar to near-record highs in some regions. Countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain were taking measures to safeguard their residents and tourists from the scorching conditions. The hottest areas are experiencing temperatures as high as 48℃. 

While it is challenging to attribute individual events to climate change, scientists emphasise that heat waves in Europe are becoming more frequent and intense at a faster rate compared to almost anywhere else on the planet. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organisation, called for urgent action to address the climate crisis. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report stresses that “there are multiple, feasible, and effective options to mitigate the changes, available now”.



A closer look reveals ongoing developments that hold promise, particularly in India and  China—two major emitters. 

India, for instance, has some catching up to do in terms of decarbonisation. However, the country is tackling this issue with foresight and a clear investment policy. Their goal is to achieve climate neutrality by 2070, which requires a substantial increase in renewable energy capacity from the current 150 gigawatts to an astounding 7425 gigawatts. To put this into perspective, the global generation capacity from renewable sources is not even half that amount. 

China, on the other hand, is making impressive strides towards its goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2060. Despite the construction of new coal-fired power plants, China’s green transformation is progressing rapidly in parallel. This year alone, the nation is installing more renewable energy capacity than what is currently available in the entirety of Germany. 

India and China are just two examples, as the rest of the world is also engaged in large-scale decarbonisation efforts to transform their economies and energy systems. However, we must go above and beyond to ensure the success of these endeavours. 



There are three critical levers that demand our attention.

The first involves fuel switching—we must decarbonise our power supply by significantly increasing our reliance on solar and wind energy. Projections indicate that the share of renewable energy sources needs to increase by a factor of 30 by 2050. 

Secondly, we need to electrify our energy consumption across various domains. Currently, the global electrification rate stands at around 22%, but it needs to exceed 50% by 2050. 

And finally, we must strive to reduce our energy consumption by addressing demand and adopting more efficient energy usage practices. This approach could lead to nearly a 50% reduction in energy consumption.




However, when I meet customers, they also emphasise the need for an additional lever: speed. Speed plays a crucial role in the process of digital transformation. In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, organisations need to adapt quickly to stay competitive and relevant.  

Digital transformation involves leveraging technology to fundamentally change how businesses operate, deliver value to customers, and innovate their products and services.  Customers ask us how they can achieve the digital transformation easier, faster and at scale. The answer is: with open, digital platforms. 

Picture a building that is so smart that it can detect when there are no occupants present, either through physical access control or simple sensors, and adjust heating or cooling accordingly. No more wasting energy on unoccupied spaces. Currently, data related to buildings, including comfort, fire safety or security management, often resides in separate domains, which we refer to as data silos. 

But what if we could merge all this valuable information into a single, comprehensive view? By breaking down these data barriers and creating a unified platform, we unlock entirely new possibilities for optimising building performance and resource management.  

As we fight climate change, it is imperative to embrace the power of digital platforms. By combining the three critical levers—fuel switch, electrification and energy efficiency—with the acceleration and convenience provided by digital solutions, we can forge a sustainable path towards a greener future. 

Technology is at our fingertips—we just need to act now.


If you have a thoughtful response to the opinions expressed here or if you have an idea for a thought leadership article regarding an aspect of the global energy transition, please send a short pitch of 200 words outlining your thoughts and credentials to:     


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related articles

Digital solutions help to harmonise the dissonance of distributed energy

The rise of distributed energy sources means finding new ways to operate the grid systems. Digital products are set to play a role in solving the issues, says Matthias Rebellius of Siemens Smart Infrastructure

Read more

Understanding digitalisation

In episode one of Energy Enablers, Siemens Smart Infrastructure's Matthias Rebellius discusses the role digital products can play in advancing the energy transition

Read more

Greater and smarter electrification is key to combatting climate change

Increasing the level of electrification, coupled with greater use of renewables, is the best way of avoiding a climate catastrophe, says Matthias Rebellius, Siemens AG Management Board Member

Read more

Decarbonisation through digitalisation: The key role of smart city districts in boosting energy efficiency

Smart buildings are energy-saving, sustainable buildings. Clustered into smart city districts, they play a crucial role in climate protection. The adaptive, open-source technology to make this possible is already available, says Matthias Rebellius of Siemens Smart Infrastructure

Read more