Getting it from where? Redefining the energy playing field, Industry brief, April 2012
Every day, New York City consumes the same amount of electricity as all sub-Saharan African nations combined, excluding South Africa. And we need more, much more. The International Energy Agency projects that total world energy consumption will increase a staggering 53% from 2008 to 2035. Meeting future energy and electricity challenges requires a radical rethink of how we produce energy, from what feedstock, how the power grid is organized and consumption. Read about the emerging energy landscape in this brief.
Each day New York City consumes the same amount of electricity as all sub-Saharan African nations combined, excluding South Africa. For people living in the developed world the problem of energy is not one of shortage but one of waste while billions simply lack access to modern electricity in other parts of the world.
Access to energy has the power to transform economies and lives. But meeting future energy and electricity challenges will require a radical rethink of how we produce energy, from what feedstock, how the power grid is organized and managed, as well as where investments are made – geographically as well as in terms of the mix between traditional and renewable sources. Producing electricity is one huge challenge; getting it to where it is needed, at the right time and cost is another. The challenge is to move from excessive dependence on fossil fuel towards developing sustainable energy sources while improving energy efficiency and reducing wastage. The future is about affordable, accessible and sustainable energy.
The good news is much new technology already exists to tackle these challenges and more is in the pipeline. Ultimately, innovation around distributed energy and smart grids will allow us not only to better use the resources that we have including renewable and recycled feedstock, but could eliminate much of the waste in transmission. The bad news is some entrenched interests in government and the corporate world seem to be slowing the process down. Energy politics have long been a feature of the landscape and will continue to be so in future. With massive corporate clout, energy producers are amongst the largest companies in the world and exert significant influence on the global economy, as well as the societies in which they operate. Renewables have come a long way in the last decade and are slowly taking market share from fossil fuels — yet subsidies for fossil fuels still dwarf those for renewables by a factor of 6.
Perhaps the biggest challenge of all will be rethinking consumption. While consumers are becoming more aware and active in demanding sustainable products and services – including energy – actually making the required shifts in behaviors is much harder.
In this report we explore how global trends are reshaping the energy market landscape – demanding that the industry and its end users adapt to and adopt new business models and technologies.