HR Business Synergy

Sep 07, 2022 7 min read

Changing Face of Energy man in an increasingly Digitalised world

Author is working with GAIL across the gas value chain like Projects, O&M of pipelines & associated facilities etc. He is a graduate in mechanical engineering from NIT-Bhopal and PGD in financial management & Applied economics from MSU Vadodara. A sportsman, nature enthusiast & climate activist with penchant for emerging trends in energy sector.

Humanity's interface with energy has been instrumental in the rise of civilisations and development of societies in terms of prosperity and per capita growth is directly correlated with the economic, efficient & optimum utilisation of energy resources available at that point of time. The nation & societies which invested in harnessing the energy in above manner through the intervention of technology and development of human skills are more developed and are entering ensuing energy transition with more technological & human skills wherewithal. The energy transition will touch the lives of every single inhabitant of earth (plants, animals, humans, corals etc). Therefore, energy transition shall also entail transformation in energy habits of all individuals. The future times are going to be exciting as the world in grappling with negative externalities of fossil fuels and at the same times comfort from the advancement in technology (AI,Cloud computing, IT-OT integration). Thus, whole eco system of energy right from the exploration, transmission, distribution, final user and intermediaries supporting the whole architecture like e platforms, financial products, technological solutions will require unlearning, learning & relearning the nuances of future energy use/development/harnessing etc. This shall require the acquisition of newer technological skills, handling of newer molecules/units of energy like hydrogen, small power packed batteries, new & modern vehicles etc. Thus it would be prudent to say that this will involve a behavioural change in public energy habits which has to be inculcated right from the primary education of kids. They will have to sensitise and educate on the new energy modes powered by technology and the power of computing. New breed of entrepreneurs shall emerge working in the field of new financial products, energy platforms, engineering of newer products & services to support the whole ecosystem. The future shall involve more academic & industry collaboration as more & more innovation is coming from first age start-ups rather than academia and well-established energy majors.

Throughout the broader global economy, digitalization is changing the nature of existing jobs, creating entirely new jobs and threatening job losses. There will no doubt be both winners and losers as a result of increasing digitalization, and policymakers must play a proactive role in preparing for an uncertain future. While improved connectivity can increase productivity across firms, supply chains and industrial sectors, to fully realise these benefits also requires policies and efforts related to cybersecurity and data privacy. Digitalization’s impacts on jobs and skills, especially in the industrial sector, can also cause challenges

Overall, digitalization is likely to lead to further efficiencies along the supply chain but is less likely to replace still-sizeable labour needs for major engineering and construction activities related to physical infrastructure. Workers supporting digital infrastructure will need specialised ICT skills, such as coding and cybersecurity, while across the energy sector, all workers will need generic ICT skills to operate digital technologies. Complementary “soft” skills such as leadership, communication and teamwork skills will also be required for the expanding number of opportunities for ICT-enabled collaborative work.

While digitalization may lead to lower labour intensity across energy systems as a whole, the impacts of digitalization are highly sector-specific:

  • In the life cycle of a power plant, digitalization has the greatest impact on equipment – its manufacturing, siting, and operation and maintenance – raising the productivity and reliability of the plant and therefore potentially reducing labour intensity. In thermal generation, digitalization may change the tasks of existing operation and maintenance, while creating new jobs in data science. In the renewables sector, the use of robots to clean solar panels and drones to monitor wind turbines could reduce the need for some employees.

  • In upstream oil and gas, a large portion of employment is associated with initial field development. Digitalization and other innovations have helped to lower costs and raise productivity, although reductions in employment are difficult to disaggregate from the wider effects of the lower oil price environment. The widespread use of 3D seismic analysis has reduced drilling needs but created new jobs in ICT and data science roles, which require very different skill sets and often are located in a different region than drilling operations.

  • In manufacturing, some jobs involve predictable, routine and repetitive physical tasks, putting them at a higher risk of automation. While the use of robotics and automation has historically yielded substantial operational benefits (including safety and productivity), the deployment of such technologies requires careful consideration of its impact on jobs, in particular job loss for low-skilled workers. At the same time, the increased use of data, sensors and 3D printing could provide new job opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

Thus, the future energy man/woman shall be wearing a Safety cap & carrying a tablet.



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