As an example, the increasing stand-by consumption of electric appliances have been known as a problem for more than 5 years, yet any regulation about this, or even a labelling scheme is not introduced in the EU countries. Such lack of action gives substantial unnecessary energy consumption.
World energy consumption
A main new element of the supply system is the electricity storages that are needed because of the large supply from intermittent resources: solar and wind. With the assumption of a gradual change, the need for large storages will start in industrialised countries after and in developing countries after These new storages are in addition to existing hydro storage capacity. The electricity storage loss does not have to be completely wasted, it is likely that energy storage plants can replace current cogeneration plants for heat and electricity to some extent and the waste heat can be used to supply existing district heating networks.
Figure 2. The renewable energy sources included in the scenario are solar, wind, hydro, and biomass. In GRES is estimated potentials for the renewable energy sources, see fig. Data for fig. Central solar potential is GW exceeding scale in chart. The potentials are far from the physical limits, but are chosen as potentials that are assumed to be in line with a sustainable development with sufficient land and resources for other needs.
This is not a dramatic increase of biomass use, compared e. Wind is expected to increase rapidly from today's level of 15, MW worldwide-installed capacity. The centralised windpower in fig. Solar heating is not included specifically, but passive solar heating is a necessary element in achieving the low space-heating demand. Central solar is solar power plants such as PV-fields on marginal land. This is the only source where the use in the GRES is order of magnitudes below the estimated potential only 1.
The main challenge in the supply system seems to be development of the solar electric supply, and the change of the biomass to supply hydrogen for transportation. The last decade's development of windpower, hydropower, and PV are in line with the necessary trends to realise a scenario such as GRES. To realise the renewable energy supply, it is important to maintain the positive developments, and make a take-off for biomass use, following plans such as the EU White Paper. While many of the current renewable energy successes have been achieved in situations with public support, the future larger scale developments must increasingly be supported by ensuring equal access to energy markets and capital, and by inclusion of external costs for all energy supply sources.
The below mentioned decreases of renewable energy supply costs is an important factor for the continued successful development. It is not enough to achieve a quantitative development of renewable energy use. The energy products should be able to cover all demands, which give a special requirement for delivering fuels for efficient transportation systems, probably in the form of hydrogen or electricity.
Regarding the economy of changes to renewable-energy and energy-efficient energy use, a massive introduction of new technologies will lead to massive reductions of costs for the new technologies. For specific renewable-energy and energy-efficiency technologies it has been estimated that they would be able to compete with fossil fuels within 25 years under average conditions, if developed vigorously e. For certain applications, the technologies are already cost-effective today.
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The investments necessary for these developments will be paid back with the availability of cheaper renewable-energy supply and energy-efficiency technologies in the future. In general, they will be cost-effective for the society. In fig. This example shows the long-term benefits from new technology.
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The example shows increasing costs with increasing installation rate in the first years, until a turning-point after which the windturbines will have a net income. The turning-point is largely dependant on the gas-price development. Figure 3. Example of possible development of windpower costs and benefits for Western Europe from realising the Windforce' This can be repeated for most of the proposed technical solutions, but the economy of an entire scenario is more than the sum of single technologies.
A sustainable energy development has a number of benefits for the world's economy, in addition to its contribution to reduce climate change problems and other environmental problems. It will first and foremost contribute to stability on many levels, while continued or increased use of the limited fossil fuel resources is likely to increase tensions and give price fluctuations that adversely affect the world economy. Nuclear power has its own problems, as well as high and often unexpected costs. In GRES is assumed increased global equity regarding use of energy services, with large growth in energy services in developing countries and small growth in industrialised countries.
The expected growth in energy services in industrialised countries is smaller than the current trends for some of the fastest growing, energy consuming sectors, such as transport. Thus, to realize the scenario, it is necessary to reduce the expected growth of e. It is, however, not necessary to reduce consumption. The energy consumption level in GRES is not the only possible level for a fossil and nuclear free future. If the demand for energy services are higher than expected, or the introduction of energy efficient technology is slower, it is possible to increase renewable energy supply, mainly from central solar and windpower.
While this is possible to some extent, increased reliance on a single source such as central solar power will require substantial additional investments in energy storage and transport infrastructure, in particular if it is to supply the Northern industrialised countries. To cover these basic needs is only required a tiny fraction of the world energy supply, and it is not a problem that need 50 years to solve.
Such a development would be in line with the development proposed in this paper, and we support it. It will require special efforts, in addition to the technology and market measures proposed in this paper because many of those that lack basic energy needs are not well integrated in the market economy and could not pay for the solutions, even if they were beneficial for them and they were offered to them. There are no insurmountable technical, financial or institutional barriers to achieving the goal, but it will require commitment from the international community and radical changes in the way in which energy development is funded and subsidized.
With the above assumptions, it is possible to give an overview of a possible development to reach the situation described in GRES in Comparing today's situation with GRES, the increase in energy services would be an important achievement for developing countries. In terms of power bills, the zero price was mostly inconsequential.
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It was brief — most electricity is sold at long-term contract prices and the wholesale cost is only a fraction of what people are ultimately charged. But Tristan Edis, a director and analyst with consultants Green Energy Markets , says it was a significant moment for what it points to. It is making a real difference in the middle of the day. The transformation under way is posing serious questions for regulators and generating companies. Some black coal plants in NSW are being turned off during periods when it is not profitable to run them.
Others are coming under increasing pressure as the amount of renewable generation increases. A big question for the clean energy industry is: can the pace of investment last? As Guardian Australia reported last year , conventional wisdom has been that clean energy investment and the pace of change in the system would fall off once the renewable energy target stopped driving new projects unless there was a new national policy to replace it.
The federal government has no plans to introduce one, beyond a shortlist of projects it is considering underwriting but is yet to develop. State targets have generally been considered not enough to fill the void.
That remains the most popular view. Particularly in emerging countries, where cost of funding is high, it is important to ensure that sufficient access to funding is available for meaningful returns on capital employed. The advent of new funding mechanisms and instruments should ensure that domestic companies in emerging countries can compete with global players and fuel sector growth.
Benefits of Renewable Energy Use | Union of Concerned Scientists
New funding sources are also essential for shortening the cycle and broadening technology innovation. Besides enabling new manufacturing techniques to create products with higher electricity generation capabilities, funding can rapidly advance the rate of innovation in areas as diverse as biofuels, robotics and micro grids. Emerging countries are set to benefit immensely from these potential advances in funding and technology.
New communities in these countries could be fully powered by a stable clean energy supply through a combination of generation, storage options and smart grids. Electric mobility could serve as a distributed load and an emergency power source. Public-private partnerships should be encouraged, enabling the development of clean energy to complement progress in society.
There must be a balance between fair competition on the one hand, and incentives for companies to focus on development on the other hand, while gaining good returns on their investments. Governments must focus on technology and manufacturing commitments that support clean energy. Renewable energy is a global phenomenon on the upswing. For the foreseeable future, its growth is set to accelerate. But we have to ensure that progress is made in the right way. Our priorities and decisions now will determine how future societies benefit.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum. I accept. Industry Agenda Future of Energy Decarbonizing Energy The key trends that will shape renewable energy in and beyond A man cleans a solar panel installed on his rooftop for free by the government in China. Join our WhatsApp group. Sign up here.
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