World Monitor Magazine April 2017 - Page 32

EXPERT OPINION The energy system of tomorrow Electricity consumption continues to increase globally day by day, largely due to economies of developing countries. Industrial enterprises and buildings need more and more electricity. It is not surprising, therefore, that the overall demand for oil fueled by low market prices is steadily growing. The energy system of the future will have to meet not only the economic requirements of the market, but also effectively use the existing resources without polluting the environment. The future energy supply must be safe and affordable. Audris Barcevicius, President and CEO, Siemens Central Asia Energy of the future Oil and gas will remain the foundation for the global power supply for many decades. The importance of natural gas – the cleanest fossil fuel – will definitely increase. We cannot forget that a sustainable future can only be achieved by switching the energy system to electricity produced, transmitted and distributed with minimal losses, using a high proportion of renewable energy resources with an emphasis on the most effective consumption. At the same time, a high level of CO 2 emissions contributes to a slow but steady increase in global temperature. With this as a priority, the seven largest countries with highly developed economies (USA, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Canada) met in Elmau, Germany in June 2015 coming together on a a revolutionary decision to decarbonize their economies during the 21st century. In other words, the G7 countries have agreed on the need to end the dependence on fossil fuels. We observe three main trends affecting the formation of the future energy system: a change in energy markets and the emerging role of alternative fuels, growing decentralized energy production, which in turn creates a more complex network format. In the second half of this century, electricity is expected to replace traditional energy sources in all economic areas, as well as in public life – in industry, on roads, in heating systems for buildings and so on. All these will be possible due to digitalization, which is spreading at an incredibly fast pace. Information technologies and software regulate the increasingly complex processes and reasonably link data obtained from equipment and machinery sensors, helping to handle information correctly. Decarbonization is really possible despite all probable difficulties. The implementation of this initiative is based on essential key directions: improving energy efficiency (for example, by construction of intelligent buildings), generating electricity using alternative sources (wind, solar, water, geothermal energy), and changing over from fossil fuels to electricity. All changes, especially large-scale ones, require investments. Here we have to keep in mind that in the long run the irreversible climate changes on the planet can become even more expensive than investments in a new energy infrastructure. Approximately 40 percent of global greenhouse gas is produced by the power-generating sector. Accordingly, it is necessary to establish this power generating in a more 'clean' way. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar will play decisive roles in future energy production. 'Green' factors Recently, the well-known research center, The Global Foot print Network, has noted that mankind uses 50 percent more resources than the planet is able to provide. 30 world monitor For example, Germany has taken appropriate measures in relation to the