Cleaning the Electricity Sector

The reduction of CO2 and harmful emissions is at the forefront of climate change issues by leading countries. In 2007, the leading contributing factor to global energy-related CO2 emissions was power generation. In order to de-carbonize the energy sector, there needs to be some changes to the industry.

The International Agency (IA) suggests that an increased mix of renewable energy sources used, will significantly reduce CO2 and Green House Gas emissions. This means that by not relying solely on nuclear and fossil fuels, and having a mix of natural gas, biomass, solar, and wind, CO2 emissions will drop by large amounts. This is essentially required if we ever want to de-carbonize the electricity sector.

This suggested mixing is becoming a must for the world’s top economies to become cleaner and to wean off of the dependence on finite resources. In the next 20 years, these economies will account for over 71% of the incremental global energy demand and contribute to 73% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Without changing any policies or energy practices in these economies, the next 20 years will demonstrate a 16,650 terawatt-hours (TWh) (2008) to 27,420 TWh demand in 2030. An almost doubled amount.

According to the IA, changing our approach to electricity supply would result in a 5.1 Gt of the total CO2 emission reductions in 2030, a CO2 savings of 36% in the major economies. It is not just the introduction of renewable energies which will reduce CO2 levels. Action is being taken on inefficient coal-fired plants, which is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 8%.

(International Energy Agency, 2010)

The transformation of the electricity sector still needs much improvement for the leading economies to reduce green house gases and decrease the reliance on finite resources. With the renewable energy sector expanding throughout Europe and the modern world, we can see positive changes in the amount of CO2 emitted by the energy sector and newer policies and goals being made demonstrate the importance of cleaner energy for our future energy supply.

To read more on this topic, please visit:  http://www.iea.org/papers/2010/electricity_sector_opportunities.pdf

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