Sunday, November 13, 2005

31 Years after the first Energy Crisis - the relation between energy policy and technology

The country imagines who its future competitors are most likely to be. And looming large on that horizon is China. China is short on energy . . .Russia only has energy . . .
Most countries don't have energy strategies. There is plenty of energy policies, plenty of energy regulations. There are even energy philosophies and enthusiasms. But energy strategies are in short supply.
P Ellis, Boston Consulting Group, BBC If . . . the lights go out, March 2004

Since the first oil shock 31 years ago, has the world moved towards a more sustainable energy system? Or has a proliferation of energy policies, regulations, enthusiasms and philosophies resulted in a hive of activity, with little progress? Does Europe lack an energy strategy?

This paper defines 11 dimensions for a national or regional energy policy, and 13 technologies to realise these objectives. It further explores the link between energy technologies and policy objectives, according to the following matrix:

(Click table to enlarge)

The table demonstrates that there is no such thing like a perfect energy source, though energy efficiency and non-intermittent renewables come pretty close to this ideal.

The table equally demonstrates that sufficient options are available to achieve almost any strategic objective. Pursuing a wide portfolio of options appears a wise choice to ensure economically efficient and stable energy prices.

A secure, clean, safe and healthy energy supply is no longer a technology development challenge, but largely a matter of investment in infrastructure and deployment of modern solutions on a massive scale. Developed countries can afford almost any energy system, but cost of energy and competitiveness become major attention areas.

View paper

1 comment:

Bernard Geeraert said...

All RES (Renewable Energy Sources) are intermittent for physical reasons (rotation of our globe on its axis and around the sun). Only the period differs from one RES source to another; anyway that period is always shorter than 1 year, but can be as short as 1 second for conversion of solar radiation with PV.