Using more digital technology to run electricity networks could save the global power section $80 billion (£61bn) a year, according to a new report.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) calculated that around 5% of the total annual generation costs could be cut.

A further $270bn could be saved by not adding further infrastructure to the global network by freeing up 185GW of flexibility.

Fatih Birol, Executive Director at the IEA, said: “The electricity sector and smart grids are at the centre of this transformation, but ultimately all sectors across both energy supply and demand – households, transport and industry – will be affected.”

Need for increased cyber security

Further digitalisation would also allow more renewable energy generators to be added to the global grid.

The IEA thinks renewable energy curtailment levels could be cut from 7% at present to 1.6% by 2040.

The report also highlighted the need for increased cyber security if greater proportions of the global network are digitised.

> Download the report