The future of world energy

October 12, 2017 by Innovation for Africa - No Comments

According to the director general of State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, the world’s biggest challenge is energy poverty, as 2 billion people around the world are being “constrained” in terms of their access to power.
Speaking on a panel at Russian Energy Week 2017, Alexey Likhachev said that by 2040, the demand for power will triple. Rosatom is Russia’s largest electricity generating business, and produced 196.37 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2016. Environmental commitments by national governments and international agreements needed to be taken into account, and there would certain changes in the structure of power generation worldwide, Likhachev explained.
When it came to the nuclear industry, specifically, Likhachev said that he is quite sure that nuclear power generation will at least maintain its footprint suggesting the nuclear industry will continue to increase capacity and remain part of a wider energy mix worldwide.
Pekka Lundmark, president and CEO of the Finland based Fortum Corporation sought to emphasise the importance of renewable energy in the years ahead. “While we know that this is a massively complicated and difficult issue, I think it’s extremely important that those economies in the world that are relying and continue to rely on hydrocarbons … Also start putting more and more money into renewables,” he said. “Russia is now starting to do that.”
He went on to argue that the world would need a creative and dynamic energy mix in the years ahead. “I would agree with Alexy that absolutely nuclear needs to be part of that,” he said, before also stating that the importance of gas would increase.
“It is a fact that the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine, and in those parts of the world … large European markets like Germany, for example, that don’t have enough hydropower, the importance of gas in providing security of supply will be extremely important.”
Trends in energy use are expected to increase all over the world as the population is growing together with its need for goods and comfort. Many opportunities appear to be cost-effective at current energy prices and can deliver additional benefits such as improved energy security, reduced fuel poverty and increased economic productivity. Reflecting this, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and other bodies are placing increasing priority on reducing energy demand, the European Commission has proposed long-term targets for energy demand reduction and countries throughout the world are introducing a range of policies to deliver those reductions.
Previous attempts at reducing energy demand have not always been fruitful. Frequently, the assumptions on which policy interventions are based do not adequately reflect the challenges involved or the factors shaping individual and organisational decision-making. Moreover, the complexity of economic systems can lead to unintended and unanticipated consequences from those interventions that may undermine the original aims. Policies are usually informed to varying degrees by ideas from academic research, but different academic disciplines approach the challenge of reducing energy demand in different ways—emphasising some mechanisms and neglecting others, preferring some methodological approaches and sources of evidence over others, and providing competing recommendations. In turn, different disciplines are more or less optimistic about the potential for reducing energy demand and provide insights that are more or less useful for policymakers.
In light of this, as we celebrate energy in several countries throughout the world, we have to look extensively at the consequences that energy supply and demand has on the world’s population and future generations.