Today, to ensure reliable, ecological and affordable energy supplies exist globally, the entire energy chain must be optimized – from the production and transport of oil and gas to the various types of power generation, transmission and distribution. This means we must look at all the ingredients of the energy mix and make each one as sustainable as possible, with an optimal integration of renewable energies.
However, the reality we face today, is that due to the increasing energy demand from a growing population and growing economies around the globe, fossil fuels will remain part of the energy mix for years to come. This presents a challenge in reducing the consumption of fossil fuels in every stage of the energy conversion chain, not limited to – but including – reduction in end usage of energy generated from fossil fuels.
Where I work at Siemens Energy, we focus on reducing consumption of fossil fuels in places like combined cycle power plants, where we have introduced advanced generation technology that allows these plants to operate at an efficiency of more than 60%. Thanks to lower fuel consumption, each new power plant of this generation will avoid the same quantity of CO2 emissions per year that would be produced by 10,000 cars driven 20,000 kilometers each.
All forms of energy and energy efficiency have their challenges these days:
- Renewables, such as wind, solar, and hydro, are in their early stages and challenges like project approval, project funding, weather conditions, infrastructure restrictions, etc. can all play their part in delaying their full implementation.
- Fossil fuels continue to challenge us on how to use them without negatively impacting the planet we live on.
- Emobility will take time to build infrastructure in cities and communities around the globe.
- Nuclear continues to challenge us on the aspects of safety.
We must be honest with ourselves and understand we are all heading toward the same end goal: Producing enough power for all humans on our planet to live safely and comfortably without negatively impacting the natural environment of that planet.
The steps that need to be taken to reach that goal will be in stages. And, in the early stages will include innovating around all forms of energy generation, so that we may reach that goal today, tomorrow and when we are gone and our children are living here. With a little luck, and lot of hard work and some incredibly intelligent minds, I do expect we will see a shift in our energy mix and what the primary ingredients will be in the future.
But, I do not see a shift in our goal: power to all people with little to no impact on the planet.
Photo by Pixomar.