How research in energy informatics contributes to energy transitions and SDG 7

Springer Nature Group

Energy informatics, an interdisciplinary field bridging the gap between informatics and energy, has emerged as a pivotal tool in realizing energy sustainability. It places special emphasis on transitions to affordable and clean energy. In an era where digitalization is transforming energy systems, an investigation into how research in energy informatics contributes to these transitions becomes imperative.


As Editors-in-Chief of the journal Energy Informatics, we conducted a search in the journal to uncover how the field of energy informatics is shaping the path toward Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7).

By searching with the keyword string: "Transition" AND ("Affordable" OR "Clean") in the journal, we found 34 articles. These results show that, since the journal started in 2018, articles related to Energy Transitions and SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy have been published each year (4 articles in 2018, 6 articles in 2019, 5 articles in 2020, 7 articles in 2021, 10 articles in 2022, and 2 articles in 2023 until the end of July).
The articles cover a range of topics:

  • 22 articles focus on clean energy
  • 8 articles focus on affordable energy
  • 4 articles focus on both affordable and clean energy

Smart cities are a popular topic, featured in articles related to both clean and affordable energy. Electricity markets are another area discussed, exploring perspectives such as peer-to-peer trading and bidding strategies. Energy services, including energy management and monitoring, are also common themes.

While clean energy is a subject in articles related to affordable energy (e.g. solar power), it is more commonly discussed in articles focused solely on clean energy, such as those examining solar power, wind energy, electric vehicles, and heat pumps. Among the 34 articles, one specifically focuses on energy systems in developing countries, reflecting a general research focus in these areas. Conversely, demand-side considerations are the main focus in developed countries.

Regardless of whether the focus is on clean, affordable, or both types of energy, "informatics" is the core element in all the articles. Discussions on "informatics" are diverse and include data-driven approaches (including big data), artificial neural networks, IT systems, digital twins, simulation and modeling, and blockchain.

In summary, our examination of 34 articles in the journal Energy Informatics has revealed a multifaceted and evolving research landscape contributing to energy transitions and SDG 7. Topics range from the integration of smart cities and innovative electricity market approaches to data-driven strategies and cutting-edge technologies. The papers highlight diverse approaches toward achieving a sustainable energy future. However, there is room for increased focus on energy systems in developing countries and a deeper exploration of the socio-economic implications of energy transitions.

Articles covering “energy transition” and “affordable energy”:

Bibri, S.E., Alexandre, A., Sharifi, A. et al: Environmentally sustainable smart cities and their converging AI, IoT, and big data technologies and solutions: an integrated approach to an extensive literature review

Wederhake, L., Schlephorst, S. & Zyprian, F: Make or buy: IT-based decision support for grid imbalance settlement in smarter electricity networks

Haghgoo, M., Dognini, A., Storek, T. et al: A cloud-based service-oriented architecture to unlock smart energy services

Bibri, S.E., Krogstie, J: Environmentally data-driven smart sustainable cities: applied innovative solutions for energy efficiency, pollution reduction, and urban metabolism

Bibri, S.E., Krogstie, J: The emerging data–driven Smart City and its innovative applied solutions for sustainability: the cases of London and Barcelona

Karpić, J., Sharma, E., Khatib, T. et al: Comparison of solar power measurements in alpine areas using a mobile dual-axis tracking system

Wörner, A., Meeuw, A., Ableitner, L. et al: Trading solar energy within the neighborhood: field implementation of a blockchain-based electricity market

Mentler, T., Rasim, T., Müßiggang, M. et al: Ensuring usability of future smart energy control room systems

Articles covering “energy transition” and “clean energy”:

Haghshenas, A., Hasan, A., Osen, O. et al: Predictive digital twin for offshore wind farms

Weigert, A: Identification and classification of heat pump problems in the field and their implication for a user-centric problem recognition

Vanting, N.B., Ma, Z. & Jørgensen, B.N: Evaluation of neural networks for residential load forecasting and the impact of systematic feature identification

Howard, D.A., Ma, Z. & Jørgensen, B.N: Application of energy informatics in Danish research projects

De Vizia, C., Macii, A., Patti, E. et al: A hierarchical and modular agent-oriented framework for power systems co-simulations

Al-Ghaili, A.M., Kasim, H., Aris, H. et al: Can electric vehicles be an alternative for traditional fossil-fuel cars with the help of renewable energy sources towards energy sustainability achievement?

Klingert, S., Lee, JW: Using real mobility patterns to assess the impact of 100% electrified mobility in a German city

Ma, Z., Clausen, A., Lin, Y. et al: An overview of digitalization for the building-to-grid ecosystem

Li, Q., Yang, M., Xu, F. et al: Evaluating the CO2 abatement effects of low-carbon city policy in China: a quasi-natural experiment

Danner, P., de Meer, H: Location and solar system parameter extraction from power measurement time series

Bibri, S.E: A novel model for data-driven smart sustainable cities of the future: the institutional transformations required for balancing and advancing the three goals of sustainability

Ma, L., Meng, Q., Pan, S. et al: PUMPNET: a deep learning approach to pump operation detection

Bibri, S.E: A methodological framework for futures studies: integrating normative backcasting approaches and descriptive case study design for strategic data-driven smart sustainable city planning

Reddy, R., Garg, V. & Pudi, V: A feature fusion technique for improved non-intrusive load monitoring

Bibri, S.E: The eco-city and its core environmental dimension of sustainability: green energy technologies and their integration with data-driven smart solutions

Anthony, B., Petersen, S.A., Ahlers, D. et al: Big data-oriented energy prosumption service in smart community districts: a multi-case study perspective

Ma, Z: Business ecosystem modeling- the hybrid of system modeling and ecological modeling: an application of the smart grid

Schwerdt, R., Nagel, M., Fetzer, V. et al: P6V2G: a privacy-preserving V2G scheme for two-way payments and reputation

Fraternali, P., Cellina, F., Herrera Gonzales, S.L. et al: Visualizing and gamifying consumption data for resource saving: challenges, lessons learnt and a research agenda for the future

Razik, L., Dinkelbach, J., Mirz, M. et al: CIMverter–a template-based flexibly extensible open-source converter from CIM to Modelica

Klemenjak, C: On performance evaluation and machine learning approaches in non-intrusive load monitoring

Fiorini, L., Aiello, M: Household CO2-efficient energy management

Articles covering “energy transition” and both “affordable energy” and “clean energy”:

Hart, M.C.G., Eckhoff, S. & Breitner, M.H: Accessible decision support for sustainable energy systems in developing countries

Dong, S., Cao, J., Flynn, D. et al: Cybersecurity in smart local energy systems: requirements, challenges, and standards

Idries, A., Krogstie, J. & Rajasekharan, J: Challenges in platforming and digitizing decentralized energy services

Bose, S., Kremers, E., Mengelkamp, E.M. et al: Reinforcement learning in local energy markets

Zheng Grace Ma © Springer Nature 2023

About the authors
Zheng Grace Ma
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Energy Informatics
Zheng Grace Ma is an associate Professor at the SDU Center for Energy Informatics, Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, University of Southern Denmark. She is the research lead of SDU strategic research areas of digital twins for industrial processes, value chains, and business ecosystems. She develops a multi-dimensional, multi-criteria evaluation and forecasting method for business ecosystem impact analysis and long-term prediction. Her research combines multiple methods (agent-based simulation, discrete event simulation, big data analytics, and scientific qualitative and quantitative methods) to investigate future scenarios and evaluate solutions (algorithm, software, technologies, and services) and business models in targeted ecosystems. 

Bo Nørregaard Jørgensen © Springer Nature 2023

Bo Nørregaard Jørgensen
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Energy Informatics
Professor Dr. Bo Nørregaard Jørgensen is the founder and head of the Center for Energy Informatics at the University of Southern Denmark. Center for Energy Informatics is an interdisciplinary research center focusing on digital solutions for facilitating the transition toward a sustainable energy system. The center’s research is conducted in close collaboration with industrial partners, public bodies, and government agencies. Dr. Jørgensen research focuses on digital solutions for integration of the demand-side with the supply-side in the energy sector, from the technology and business perspectives. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Southern Denmark, a M.Sc. and a B.Sc. in Computer System Engineering from Odense University, Denmark.