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Energy to 2050, Scenarios for a Sustainable Future, 2003

Energy to 2050, Scenarios for a Sustainable Future, 2003


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Published by: i-people on Mar 28, 2008
Direitos Autorais:Attribution Non-commercial


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At the beginning, in this first scenario, increasing confidence in the science of
climate, coupled with increasing frequency and severity of climatic impacts
and a level of wealth that allows the environment to be taken as a serious
priority, could cause a dramatic shift in attitudes and preferences held by
consumers and citizens in developed countries. Rising concern for the global
environment would translate in more environmentally friendly behaviour,
increasing demand for goods and services that have a lighter environmental
footprint and energy products with a low or zero carbon content. These
attitudes would spur national governments in developed countries to respond
to the demand for more ambitious climate mitigation policies.

The Kyoto Protocol would be followed by new agreements with additional
countries taking ever more stringent commitments. Developed countries
would provide assistance to developing countries, leading them also to act
to mitigate emissions. For their part, citizens would be more proactive,
demanding that businesses and industry produce more climate friendly
products both in developed countries and elsewhere, and co-operating
actively with local governments, in finding new ways to increase energy
efficiency and reduce GHG emissions.

In the early part of the scenario, with political support from citizens,
governments would use the full suite of policy measures to ensure the
rapid achievement of visible results in emissions reductions. Policies to
encourage these changes would include emissions trading, taxes on energy
and energy-related emissions or externalities (like CO2taxes), imposed
either on fuels use or on energy consumption. Domestically, fiscal


2.Three Exploratory Scenarios to 2050

measures, standards and regulations, cap-and-trade mechanisms and
voluntary agreements would be used, as well as international trading in
emissions. The emphasis would be on reductions rather than trades,
stemming from recognition of the need to reduce emissions sharply rather
than only to meet fixed targets. Energy saving and significant shifts in fuel
mix, and later in the economic activity mix would be a key part of this
policy attitude. Much of this energy conservation would be achieved
through successful penetration of the most efficient existing technologies
and in the household sector would be the result of changes in behaviour.

Remaining subsidies on coal or other fossil fuels would be progressively
removed, with more targeted support systems taking care of the social
consequences in these sectors (i.e. unemployment). Green pricing schemes for
renewables would be further developed. These policies to induce a shift the
fuel mix from fossils to renewables would be complemented by policies to
improve the energy efficiency of the system. Minimum efficiency standards
on domestic appliances, boilers, electric devices, vehicles and so on, would be
adopted. Standards would be supported, where necessary, by financing
measures to accelerate the scrapping of old and inefficient vehicles and
equipment, by lowering (and enforcement) of speed limits in highway traffic.
Increasingly, urban centres especially in older cities would be closed down to
private vehicle traffic, or a system of tolls for the entry of cars set up.

Mass transit infrastructure, not just in large urban agglomerations but also
in mid-sized ones, would be developed to satisfy demand for mobility that
would otherwise be met by private vehicles. People would choose to walk
or ride bicycles whenever possible or to move closer to their centre of
activity, slowing down urban sprawl and the creation of new suburbs.
Average apartment size would not grow, and new houses would be
actually smaller. Furthermore, some rethinking of conventional city-
planning schemes would take place, especially in newer agglomerations,
to minimise commuting needs. Cities would be more compact. The
possibility of moving people and goods by rail (either aboveground or
underground), or by river barge would be exploited whenever possible.

More stringent fuel efficiency standards for private vehicles would be
introduced and periodically reviewed to tighten them further, thus
accelerating the improvement of vehicle energy performance: this would
apply to both gasoline vehicles and diesel vehicles. Development of hybrid
vehicles would also continue, and their penetration of the automotive
market would gradually increase. Bio-fuels would also be used more
extensively. Gas-powered fuel cells would start being introduced in


2.Three Exploratory Scenarios to 2050

commercial vehicles from 2008 but would penetrate the market at a very
slow rate starting from existing gas distribution networks. But at least at
the beginning LPG and methane use would increase in conventional
vehicles and public transport fleets as well. Governments would intervene,
through partnerships with industry, to promote more environmentally
friendly infrastructure.

Demand in the air transport sector would continue to increase, although,
due to the introduction of fuel and CO2taxes for jet fuel, to the
optimisation of aeroplane size and to the use of lighter construction
materials, fuel efficiency would improve significantly. As a result, growth in
energy demand for this sector would be significantly slower.

With these measures, demand for light oil products would grow much more
slowly in OECD countries, even in the presence of an increased demand for
mobility. Oil will remain extremely important in transportation, but the
high taxes and the draconian conservation measures taken in developed
countries will significantly reduce demand growth in those areas, help
prolong the life of existing oil resources and moderate the growth in prices
in the world market.

In Europe, all coal power plants being retired or close to retirement would
be replaced by gas turbine combined cycles, leading to a sharp increase in
demand for natural gas. In North America the trend would be similar for
coal plants at the end of their life: but the gas option would be preferred
for new capacity as well. In nearly all OECD countries micro-generation and
cogeneration in a distributed fashion would increase significantly.

Very few, new nuclear plants, if any, would be built, due to continuing
attitudes of mistrust by the public towards this technology, and to concern
over the long-term safety of radioactive waste storage, but the life of
existing plants would be extended as much as safely possible, as a
measure to contain GHG emissions.

In OECD countries, gas will be increasingly used both for power generation
and in fuel cells. Increasing the number of fuel cell stacks, attractive
generation capacities can quickly be reached, although the initial
applications will be for distributed generation. However, on this market the
competition between fuel cells and advanced gas turbines may turn out to
be in favour of the latter. In OECD countries CHP generation would be
used more extensively.

In parallel, public investment programmes to increase the share of
electricity produced from non-CO2-emitting sources would be undertaken.


2.Three Exploratory Scenarios to 2050

These programmes would mostly focus on power generation from
renewable sources. Minimum production targets for these sources would
be adopted. Energy taxes and CO2taxes would be waived for renewable-
based power, thus improving the economics of renewable power
generation. Part of the energy and CO2tax revenues from conventional
carbon based sources would be recycled to fund small (household or
building-size) photovoltaic applications, or, in the countryside, both PV and
wind generators. While the technology might not evolve rapidly, the fiscal
pressures would allow existing technologies to penetrate the market.

Solar PV technology will improve its conversion efficiency but very slowly.
Wind power, already competitive, will take a considerable share of the
electricity market, exploiting as much as possible all good sites, provided that
conflicts with other land uses do not arise. Commercial biomass use for
energy production will also expand, favoured by improvements in
biotechnologies. Bio-fuels, free from the problems of intermittence that
characterise other renewables, will be increasingly used for power generation.

The initial emphasis in this scenario would be on energy efficiency,
conservation and measures on the energy demand side and then on shifts
in the energy supply mix towards renewables and gas.

The price of energy to the final consumer would keep increasing both due
to increased fiscal pressure and to the increased costs of more efficient
technologies for the system. This would be particularly true for the power
system due to the need for back-up to protect against the effects of
intermittent generation from renewables. Energy demand in developed
countries as a result would be somewhat reduced with respect to the
reference scenario. Also, economic growth would be more modest.

R&D spending by governments would not increase much in magnitude
with respect to the trends that emerged during the last decade of the
previous century (which actually marked a stabilisation at relatively low
levels). Research budgets would be reoriented towards improvement of
non-carbon-emitting technologies (with a focus on renewables and fusion),
or towards the higher efficiency of carbon-based ones, and towards socio-
economic research on policies, and approaches to induce behavioural
change in a more pro-environmental direction. Chance is recognised to
play a role (small or large) in determining the success of R&D efforts. As
one of the assumptions in this scenario is that technological change is
slow, efforts spent on basic science and long-term research on innovative
concepts would yield little practical result.


2.Three Exploratory Scenarios to 2050

Large deployment programmes in renewable generation would set in
motion technology learning in the production of parts and components for
renewable power plants, bringing down costs over time, and improving the
efficiency of energy transformation. But this process would be very slow.
Also, investments in R&D to improve the efficiency of renewable
technologies and electricity storage technologies would be made, in order
to deal with the problem of intermittence of power supply that
characterises solar PV, wind and other intermittent technologies. However,
the results of this R&D activity in terms of increased transformation
efficiencies of these technologies would not live up to expectations, and
renewable energy technologies, especially for power generation, would
remain unable to supply a sufficiently large share of the market. Fusion
research, meanwhile, would continue, but with limited progress.

In addition, in the first two decades of this scenario, R&D investment on
technologies such as nuclear and carbon separation and sequestration
would be weak. In a world of heightened concern for long-term
environmental risks this could be itself the result of pro-environmental
attitudes. It could be an essentially political choice based on the fact that
these technologies either pose serious security problems (long-term safe
storage of radioactive waste or ocean storage of CO2), or are viewed as
temporary solutions (terrestrial CO2storage), rather than being the result
of an economic choice. In the case of carbon sequestration, some research
would be still carried out by oil and gas companies as a way to boost
recovery rates from hydrocarbon deposits and the technology would
consolidate. But progress would be much slower for technologies of aquifer
sequestration and even more for ocean sequestration due to concerns
about environmental risk.

The Kyoto targets for the first commitment period would be attained.
OECD countries would then adopt even more stringent emission reduction
goals. With economic growth resumed in Eastern European countries and
Russia, very little (if any) hot air would be left for emission trading, which
now would have to be based on actual emissions reductions. To meet the
new goals more policy intervention would be needed.

As a result of the environmental efforts made, environmental quality, and
particularly air quality in large metropolitan areas in developed countries
would improve significantly, reducing the incidence of respiratory diseases,
and reducing water and soil contamination from airborne pollutants.
Marine pollution would decrease too, owing to reduced oil tanker traffic.


2.Three Exploratory Scenarios to 2050

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