This paper investigates the trade-offs associated with the digitalization of the energy sector. Arguing that digitalization has both bright and dark sides, we study the extent to which it can help make energy systems efficient and sustainable. We first discuss how digitalization affects the responsiveness of demand, and explore its implications for spot pricing, load shedding, and priority service. In particular, we highlight the conditions under which digital technologies that allow demand to be more responsive to supply are likely to be used. We then turn to the way digitalization can contribute to the decarbonization of the energy sector, and discuss the promises and limitations of artificial intelligence in this area. Finally, we contend that policymakers should pay special attention to the privacy concerns raised by the digitalization of the energy sector and the cyberattacks that it enables.
Electricity; dynamic pricing; digitalisation; artificial Intelligence;
TSE Working Paper, n. 21-1209, May 2021