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Accelerating the Digital Economy, Energy Consumption through Blockchain Technology, and Sustainable Development

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "C: Energy Economics and Policy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (12 July 2023) | Viewed by 25216

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Management, Zhejiang Shuren University, Hangzhou, China
Interests: environment; green management; carbon emission; CSR; green economy; sustainable development; ICT
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
School of Business, Hunan University of Humanities, Science and Technology, Fuxin, China
Interests: carbon dioxide; digital economy; circular economy; green finance; sustainability; blockchain technology; sustainable development
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Guest Editor invites submissions for a Special Issue of the journal Energies on the subject of “Accelerating the Digital Economy, Energy Consumption through Blockchain Technology, and Sustainable Development.” The rapid espousal and quickening behaviour of the global economy and social dynamics toward digitalization is just because of digital technologies that transform the way we access and process information, impacting and utilizing operational databases. These dramatic technological and social changes also have important environmental and energy implications. The computation systems can learn and improve their performance innovatively and quickly in the next technology era. As the scope, complexity, and applications of these self-teaching machine/technological intelligence systems are going to expand. They will increasingly influence how we manage energy and the environment. This initiative seeks to leverage academic research across various disciplines to guide several high-priority research areas at the intersection of energy, environment, and the digital economy.

This issue aims to analyze energy, environmental implications, and digital economic performances of worldwide point-focus divergent systems for a residential and an institutional user when its installation site varies. As we observed, the concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems are a promising technology to obtain clean energy. In contrast, blockchain technology is generally known as overflowed energy with unsustainable environmental conditions. However, these systems are not equally convenient worldwide due to different climatic, economic, and technical development conditions. The rapid adoption and acceleration of digital technologies transform the way we access and process information, affecting the global economy and our social dynamics. These dramatic technological and social changes also significantly influenced environmental sustainability and energy implications. In addition to producing new research and ideas, we also aim to be a reference source for scholars and practitioners at the intersection of energy, the environment, and the digital economy.

All possible sections/categories of this issue are listed below:

  • energy conversion systems, power generation, transmission, and use of them in the digital economy
  • prevalence, scope, and environmental-related issues for digital sharing platforms (GHG accounting for emerging transportation services, food sharing applications, and ride sourcing drivers’ perception about electric vehicles)
  • technical development, environmental sustainability, economic growth and restructure of policies
  • pollution control, energy efficiency, and climatic behaviour
  • clean energy and digital economic development with sustainable system engineering
  • emerging energy issue, energy economics, structural strategies to maintain the problematic environmental issue

Dr. Larisa Ivascu
Dr. Muddassar Sarfraz
Dr. Muhammad Mohsin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Digital Economy
  • Energy Consumption
  • Blockchain Technology
  • Sustainable Development
  • Triple Bottom-line Technological and Social Changes
  • Energy Utilization

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 1387 KiB  
Article
The Interplay of Green Technology and Energy Consumption: A Study of China’s Carbon Neutrality and Sustainable Digital Economy
by Isbat Alam, Shichang Lu, Muddassar Sarfraz and Muhammad Mohsin
Energies 2023, 16(17), 6184; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16176184 - 25 Aug 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 931
Abstract
In light of the carbon neutrality goals set post-Paris Climate Conference (COP21), this study delves into the relationship between green technology innovations, energy consumption, and CO2 emissions in China, spanning the period of 1990 to 2021. The objective of this paper is [...] Read more.
In light of the carbon neutrality goals set post-Paris Climate Conference (COP21), this study delves into the relationship between green technology innovations, energy consumption, and CO2 emissions in China, spanning the period of 1990 to 2021. The objective of this paper is to creatively present the idea of a low-carbon digital economy from the viewpoint of digital technology. Utilizing the Stochastic Impacts by Regression on Population, Affluence, and Technology (STIRPAT) model, we scrutinize this relationship, employing unit-root testing to verify the integrative attributes of the variables, inclusive of structural break data. Further analysis using the bootstrap Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) bound testing method corroborates the relationship between these key variables. The study reveals unidirectional co-integration over time among green technology innovations, renewable and non-renewable energy, per capita income, population, and CO2 emissions as per the Granger causality test. Interestingly, our findings suggest that while green technology innovation, per capita income, and renewable energy contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions, non-renewable energy consumption and population growth exacerbate them. These insights offer valuable guidance for policymakers in formulating comprehensive strategies to enhance environmental quality through the promotion of renewable energy and green technology innovations, with a specific emphasis on the Chinese context. Full article
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19 pages, 5531 KiB  
Article
Research on the Impact of Energy Efficiency on Green Development: A Case Study of the Yellow River Basin in China
by Jianhua Liu, Yingying Zhang, Lingyu Pu, Liangchao Huang, Huiyang Wang and Muddassar Sarfraz
Energies 2023, 16(9), 3660; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16093660 - 24 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1166
Abstract
In order to achieve China’s carbon peaking and carbon neutrality (double carbon) targets and to advance ecological conservation and high-quality development in the Yellow River Basin, it is essential that China reduces its energy intensity and increases its energy efficiency. This research developed [...] Read more.
In order to achieve China’s carbon peaking and carbon neutrality (double carbon) targets and to advance ecological conservation and high-quality development in the Yellow River Basin, it is essential that China reduces its energy intensity and increases its energy efficiency. This research developed an evaluation index system for energy efficiency and green development in the Yellow River Basin based on panel data collected from 64 of its prefecture-level cities and covering the period from 2011 to 2020. Each city’s energy efficiency and green development level index was calculated, and was analyzed together with the characteristics of its spatial pattern progression. The STIRPAT model was then used to investigate the influence mechanism of energy efficiency on green development. The final step in the analysis was to assess the process by which technical innovation influences the rise in energy efficiency from a green development point of view. The findings of this study indicate that: (1) There was a marked improvement in energy efficiency and green development levels across the Yellow River Basin over the study period of 2011 to 2020, but there are notable disparities among prefecture-level cities, with higher levels found in capital cities and cities in the lower reaches of the basin. (2) The improvement in energy efficiency has had a positive impact on the transition to green development, with factors such as human capital, urbanization levels, and the upgrading of industrial structures contributing significantly, while the level of foreign direct investment has had a limited impact. (3) Technological innovation plays a partial role in mediating the relationship between energy efficiency and green development in the Yellow River Basin, and passes the single-threshold test. When technological innovation surpasses the threshold value, the effect of energy efficiency on green development is significantly strengthened. This study indicates that improving energy efficiency, stimulating emerging industries, and enhancing technological innovation capabilities can significantly promote transformative green and high quality development in the Yellow River Basin of China. Full article
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21 pages, 5816 KiB  
Article
Digital Management of Resource Efficiency of Fuel and Energy Companies in a Circular Economy
by Larisa Vazhenina, Elena Magaril and Igor Mayburov
Energies 2023, 16(8), 3498; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16083498 - 17 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1301
Abstract
High-quality managerial decision-making is crucial for improving the resource efficiency of production companies in the context of digitalization. Currently, the use of modern methods and tools to manage the consumption and supply of resources of companies should consider the principles of a circular [...] Read more.
High-quality managerial decision-making is crucial for improving the resource efficiency of production companies in the context of digitalization. Currently, the use of modern methods and tools to manage the consumption and supply of resources of companies should consider the principles of a circular economy. This study focused on the development of a mechanism to manage resource efficiency in the fuel and energy sector. It used the methodological tools developed by the authors, including a comprehensive integral assessment of resource efficiency and a practice-oriented research methodology adapted for fuel and energy enterprises. Having analyzed the existing state of resource consumption, the authors discovered a disparity of indicators, methods and means in the applied assessment of the accounting, control and expenditure of energy resources. Using the analytic hierarchy process as a foundation, the authors applied a technique for identifying inefficient production processes at the fuel and energy enterprises level as a case study. With the proposed technique, the main areas of the inefficient use of resources were identified. They include the organization of accounting, control and rationing of resource consumption, supplying the resources to production, and measures to improve resource conservation. These areas were ranked by importance and priority. The calculations determined the most resource-intensive process—“Operation of equipment and technologies”. On this basis, the authors developed a methodology for resource efficiency management, including a number of digital technologies and tools. As a result of testing the developed mechanism in an oil and gas company based on the principles of a circular economy, the authors found reserves of the inefficient use of energy resources and searched for the best option for the development of an oil and gas company. Moreover, the proposed approach enabled the authors to determine the balanced growth of the company’s resource efficiency, develop managerial decisions for the its long-term development, and conduct its environmental and economic assessment. Full article
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26 pages, 1430 KiB  
Article
The Implications of Triple Transformation on ESG in the Energy Sector: Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) Findings
by Theerasak Nitlarp and Theeraya Mayakul
Energies 2023, 16(5), 2090; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16052090 - 21 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2966
Abstract
Digital transformation has emerged as a key driver of business innovation and growth in the 21st century. As organizations increasingly rely on digital technologies to operate and interact with customers, digital transformation has become an essential strategy for remaining competitive in today’s rapidly [...] Read more.
Digital transformation has emerged as a key driver of business innovation and growth in the 21st century. As organizations increasingly rely on digital technologies to operate and interact with customers, digital transformation has become an essential strategy for remaining competitive in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. Simultaneously, the relevance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues has increased in the context of consumers, investors, and regulators, as the negative consequences of business activities on the natural environment and society become increasingly evident. In this research article, we examine the relationship between ESG and the triple transformation of business, people, and technology, as well as how organizations can use digital technologies to enhance their ESG performance. Our aim is to identify the principal drivers and mechanisms that shape ESG performance in the context of triple transformation and to investigate the trade-offs and synergies between different ESG dimensions. We used a mixed-methods approach combining fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) and structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine the implications of triple transformation on ESG in the energy sector. The results showed that triple transformation has positive impacts on ESG performance, depending on the specific context and the interaction between different drivers and mechanisms. We suggest that energy companies that are able to effectively navigate the challenges and opportunities of triple transformation are likely to outperform their peers in terms of ESG performance. Our study contributes to the literature on ESG in the energy sector by providing a nuanced and dynamic view of the relationships between triple transformation and ESG performance. Full article
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17 pages, 2132 KiB  
Article
Analysis of the Path Optimization of the Sustainable Development of Coal-Energy Cities Based on TOPSIS Evaluation Model
by Hailiang Huang and Changfeng Shi
Energies 2023, 16(2), 857; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16020857 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1334
Abstract
At present, various contradictions in most coal-energy cities have become increasingly prominent, which has become a disharmonious factor restricting the optimization and upgrading of coal-energy cities. Since the turn of the century, taking effective improvement and protection measures and promoting the economic transformation [...] Read more.
At present, various contradictions in most coal-energy cities have become increasingly prominent, which has become a disharmonious factor restricting the optimization and upgrading of coal-energy cities. Since the turn of the century, taking effective improvement and protection measures and promoting the economic transformation of cities reliant on coal as an energy source has been the primary job of departments at all levels in order to secure the sustainable growth of cities. In this paper, the economic transformation and sustainable growth of coal-energy cities are included in the enhanced TOPSIS economic transformation evaluation model based on the proposed entropy weight. This study examines the industrialization of cities that rely on coal energy resources, assesses the industrial efficacy of coal energy using the DEA technique, and proposes a plan for the industrialization of cities that rely on coal energy resources. This paper summarizes the industrial transformation process of coal-energy cities and designs an evaluation method for the industrial economic transformation of coal-energy cities. This paper determines a set of evaluation index systems suitable for the economic transformation of coal-based energy cities; constructs an evaluation model for the economic transformation of improved TOPSIS coal-based energy cities based on entropy weight; and, finally, calculates and analyzes the industrial economic statistics of a city over the years. It is found that, at the economic structure level, the transformation score of driving forces increases from 0.606 to 0.871; at the level of social economic structures, the transition score of the pressure system increases from 0.476 to 0.779, and the transition score of the state system increases from 0.401 to 0.699; at the level of urban construction structures, the transformation score of the pressure system increases from 0.467 to 0.568; and at the level of comprehensive transformation structures, the transformation score affecting the system increases from 0.611 to 0.716. This shows that, in the process of transformation, the driving force of industrial and economic development in coal-energy-based cities is sufficient, while the pressure of social and economic transformation is great. In the process of transformation, we should strengthen infrastructure construction and protect the urban environment. Full article
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18 pages, 1125 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Competitive Strategies on Performance of Banking Sector; The Mediating Role of Corporate Social Responsibility and Operational Excellence
by Larisa Ivascu, Waqas Ali, Rimsha Khalid and Mohsin Raza
Energies 2023, 16(1), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16010297 - 27 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2745
Abstract
This study examined the mediating role of corporate social responsibility practices and the nexus between the operational excellence of competitive strategies, and performance, for Islamic banks operating in Pakistan. Particularly, two competitive strategies, namely, the cost-sensitive strategy and the differentiation strategy were considered. [...] Read more.
This study examined the mediating role of corporate social responsibility practices and the nexus between the operational excellence of competitive strategies, and performance, for Islamic banks operating in Pakistan. Particularly, two competitive strategies, namely, the cost-sensitive strategy and the differentiation strategy were considered. This study employed a structured questionnaire to collect the data from 512 respondents (361 from fully-fledged Islamic banks, FFIBs, and 151 from Islamic window banks, IWBs). A partial least square–structural equation modeling approach was employed to test the hierarchal component model. As a robustness check, the Gaussian copula approach was used to address the endogeneity issue, and the Partial least square prediction-oriented segmentation approach was adopted to explore the unobserved heterogeneity. The findings showed evidence of complementary partial mediation between competitive strategies and bank performance, channeled through operational excellence. However, corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices partially mediated the relationship between cost-sensitive strategy and bank performance. This study is worthwhile for managers, policy makers and regulatory authorities concerned with religiously conscious corporations. Full article
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18 pages, 873 KiB  
Article
Heterogeneous Impacts of Extreme Climate Risks on Global Energy Consumption Transition: An International Comparative Study
by Jiaying Peng, Yuhang Zheng and Ke Mao
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4189; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144189 - 11 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2159
Abstract
In response to the uncertainty of extreme climate change, energy consumption structure has been actively adjusted globally. Based on panel data of 101 countries or regions from 2006 to 2019, a panel data model with fixed effects is used to analyze the heterogeneous [...] Read more.
In response to the uncertainty of extreme climate change, energy consumption structure has been actively adjusted globally. Based on panel data of 101 countries or regions from 2006 to 2019, a panel data model with fixed effects is used to analyze the heterogeneous impacts of extreme climate risks on global consumption transition. The results show that extreme climate change has promoted the transition of the energy structure, reduced the consumption of fossil energy, and increased the consumption of renewable energy. Meanwhile, there are heterogeneous impacts of extreme climate change risks on the energy transition when different countries suffering from extreme weather conditions. Areas with high levels of economic development and coastal countries are more inclined to respond to climate change through energy transition. It is further confirmed that, under the impact of business cycle and oil price fluctuations, economic recession and falling oil prices will strengthen the correlation between climate risk and the global energy transition, and governments need to pay more attention to the impact of climate risks. Full article
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Review

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25 pages, 1385 KiB  
Review
Energy Security: New Threats and Solutions
by Lazar Gitelman, Elena Magaril and Mikhail Kozhevnikov
Energies 2023, 16(6), 2869; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16062869 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4563
Abstract
The article presents the conceptual features of energy security management under a radically changed context, increasing crisis phenomena, and threats of various natures. The authors substantiate the claim that energy security is a complex category, which expresses the ability of the fuel and [...] Read more.
The article presents the conceptual features of energy security management under a radically changed context, increasing crisis phenomena, and threats of various natures. The authors substantiate the claim that energy security is a complex category, which expresses the ability of the fuel and energy complex of the region to supply the required amount and range of energy resources to the domestic market at stable and reasonable prices; to promptly mitigate unexpected fluctuations in demand for fuel and energy resources; and to ensure uninterrupted energy supply and energy carrier parameters in real time. Based on an analysis of scientific publications and practical energy security models, the authors developed theoretical provisions, methodological principles, and management tools for energy security that meet modern requirements. In particular, the authors developed the terminological apparatus and identified the types and forms of modern energy threats and risks. The authors analyzed the impact of structural shifts in the electric power industry on the cost of electricity. The authors proposed a set of measures to neutralize negative scenarios in the field of energy security, which had appeared because of geopolitical factors, structural changes in the economy, and high volatility in energy prices. In addition, the authors considered the impact of the transition to low-carbon energy production on energy security, and developed the organizational and technical concept of the energy transition, which aimed to provide energy systems and individual energy facilities with properties of self-protection from emerging threats. The results of the study are of practical interest in the development of regional energy policy, plans, and specific actions that aim to ensure energy security in a turbulent global environment. Full article
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24 pages, 3389 KiB  
Review
Sustainability in Blockchain: A Systematic Literature Review on Scalability and Power Consumption Issues
by Hani Alshahrani, Noman Islam, Darakhshan Syed, Adel Sulaiman, Mana Saleh Al Reshan, Khairan Rajab, Asadullah Shaikh, Jaweed Shuja-Uddin and Aadar Soomro
Energies 2023, 16(3), 1510; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16031510 - 3 Feb 2023
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4209
Abstract
Blockchain is a peer-to-peer trustless network that keeps records of digital assets without any central authority. With the passage of time, the sustainability issue of blockchain is rising. This paper discusses two major sustainability issues of blockchain: power consumption and scalability. It discusses [...] Read more.
Blockchain is a peer-to-peer trustless network that keeps records of digital assets without any central authority. With the passage of time, the sustainability issue of blockchain is rising. This paper discusses two major sustainability issues of blockchain: power consumption and scalability. It discusses the challenge of power consumption by analyzing various approaches to estimating power consumption in the literature. A case study of bitcoin is presented for this purpose. The study presents a review of the growing energy consumption of bitcoin along with a solution for immersion cooling in blockchain mining. The second challenge addressed in this research is scalability. With the increase in network size, scalability issues are also increasing as the number of transactions per second is decreasing. In other words, blockchain is observing low throughput with its increase in size. The paper discusses research studies and techniques proposed in the literature. The paper then investigates how to scale blockchain for better performance. Full article
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