Energy

trends in ENERGY

According to the WEF report on trends in Energy systems, the demand for Energy is expected to double, especially to cover the needs in buildings and industry for China and India. Expect as well disruptions in the type of mobility and the cost of new energy technologies. 

the energy transition

Decarbonisation of the Energy, away from Coal, and Fuel, is certainly a top priority in the building of the new economy.

Asdepicted by the IEA in a folder of Technology Roadmaps for alternative energy supply, dramatic progress have been accomplished in the last 2 decades, that makes this transition feasible. Additionally, the mood has shifted, from denial to acceptance of its necessity. COP-21 was a milestone for this.


We present below some very relevant enablers and communities of practices that could accelerate this transition.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) provides a summary report on facts and trends in Energy: a key fact is that over a GDP per head of 3000$/y, the energy demand starts to explode, and will flatten  beyond a GDP per head of 15'000 $/Y. Therefore, the combination of the demographic growth, and the expected and desirable emerging economic prosperity is pointing at a dramatic requirement to accelerate the energy transition to a decarbonisation. 

The roadmap to the energy transition will require substantial, but feasible incremental investments. The report of CERES/Bloomberg elaborates on this topic. Compared to BAU (Business As Usual), an increment of about 300 billion US$/year  to finance renewable energy will be required worlwide to meet the goals of the 2 Degrees increment, i.e. less than financing new cars in USA. Therefore, this is substantial, but feasible! 

The IEA and IRENA also published in 2017 a joint report with a strategy for this transition to renewable energy.

Renewable Energy

In 2013, the worldwide share of capacity addition with renewable energy exceeded the share with traditional sources (fuel, coal, etc...). This is  demonstrating the potential and progress of these technologies, and that we have finally embarked on the journey of energy transition.
TheIRENA (International Agency for Renewable Energy) is providing additional information on this transition, best captured in their report Rethinking Energy , and is exploring opportunities for a transition to renewable energy in their report  Energy {R}evolution

Nuclear Energy

Watch these 3 videos on youtube for an introduction to nuclear energy, it's issues and benefits.

Nuclear Power Plants are releasing a fraction of the CO2 compared to a Coal-fired Plant. And this is still the case with CO2 sequestration, a technology that seems feasible, but is not yet in place anyway. The Nuclear Energy Agency is elaborating on the potentials of the Nuclear Energyto reach the necessary targets of green gases emissions reductions to limit the Climate Change.

Alternatively, the Union of Concerned Scientists has published an opinion paper to warn against too much enthusiasm for this route: beyond the benefits of reducing CO2 emissions, investing in nuclear plants is facing serious challenges that makes it of little interest for private investors not backed by governement. Among these challenges, we have:

- costs: latest estimates are ballooning to beyong 9 bioUS$ for  1000megaW plant, due to ever increasing requirements for safety

- no solution has been licensed yet for a safe and long term disposal of nuclear waste

- insuring a nuclear plant, especially within a densed area such as Switzerland is simply not feasible, meaning that the risk has to be endorsed by the society.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report, an independant analyst of this industry, has published its 2016 report, highlighting the issues of profitability meltdown of this industry, with (shares of related industries such as french AREVA, japanese TEPCO or Kansai, Chinese CGN, to mention a few,  having just collapsed. The 2017 update report highlights the loss of competitivity of Nuclear Energy versus Renewable Reouces.

Energy Management

Energy concept for a sustainable program will include: 
- Energy Management Principles, described here
- an Energy Management System, such as the ISO-50001   that will also ensure a pathway to a continuous improvement
- and a way forward to the decarbonisation described  in the document        Decarbonisation and Competitiveness


Forecasts Energy Demand

All forecasts for Energy Demand point to the fact that the demand will continue to rise, and this demand will be mostly generated by non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. And unless a dramatic change of perception of the acuteness of the problem, we will miss by a long way the target of a temperature rise of less than 2 degree Celsius.



Energy and Water Supply: How it is linked?

Energy production in water stressed areas (affecting 40% of the world population) can be vulnerable to reliability of water supply, and this is already taking place, inducing periodical disruption in Energy supply. This is depicted in this infographics of the Worlkd-Bank, and developing countries are expected to be affected most!

Links on Energy

 
We provide herewith some useful links with information and analysis on Energy, such as:
-  2000watts.org  with periodical newsletters on the Energy situation, but in french
-  BP-Energy Outlook  with information on trends
-  The  IEA Page for the publications of the International Energy Agency

Decarbonation of Energy Supply and Energy Transition

The major challenge in building the new economy will be the "decarbonation of the Energy supply, or generating enough energy to maintain the quality of life in the developed world and  meet the expectations for the developing world while dramatically reducing the CO2 emissions.  
The Energy Transition will have to rely on 4 pillars: 
- The Greening of Energy supply (including solar and wind energy), 
- The Digitalisation (including smart homes, smart grids), 
- Gains in efficiency (including smart mobility, hybrid or electric cars), 
- and smart investments, because the necessary investments for the transition will be substantial. 
Several methodologies are proposed to adress this transition, such as this one. In any case, innovation in technology and in finance will be required to decarbonize the energy sector.
The Nordic countries are leaders in this Energy Transition, and can be an inspiration. But all major countires have similar programs in place, as response to their commitments to the COP-21 agreements.