Wind Power

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Energy Mix Strategies for oil importing country – Important in the scenario of energy security and global warming:

Energy Mix Strategies for oil importing country – Important in the scenario of energy security and global warming:

A. We are aware of the problems of environmental pollution and the adverse consequences of global warming causing due to CO2 emission. To restrict environmental pollution, to mitigate the CO2 emission and rate of increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, responsive long term energy mix strategies exploiting the maximum potential of non-greenhouse gas emitting energy sources need to be developed and implemented as rapidly as possible. The future energy mix will not only depend on environmental issues, but also will depend on technological, economic, supply, logistics and political factors. It is generally accepted that for many decades fossil fuels will continue to be the major energy source world over. Natural gas being the lowest fossil fuel greenhouse gas emitter will increase the share in energy scenario world over. Countries having or exporting fossil fuels cannot easily turn away from their use and likewise the industrially & economically dynamic countries of Asia such as China, Japan and India cannot radically shift from fossil fuels towards uncertain and currently costly renewable for their growing power needs.

B. National and regional factors are the most important in guiding country's energy mix. Percentage share of energy differ considerably today and they will in the future. For example, today China is more than 90% dependent on various forms of fossil fuels. On the other hand, France and Sweden have reduced their dependence on fossil fuels to less than 50% and 35% respectively by using nuclear and hydro-power to a great extent. Moreover, out of all the fossil fuels coal is the workhorse of global electric power sector and is used to generate more than half of the electricity world consumes. Coal is also world’s most abundant fossil fuel, with supplies projected to last almost 250 years or more. As coal-fired power plants generally produce the lowest-cost electricity and coal is abundant, most of the country’s economic and energy security depend on the continued use of the fuel.

C. Therefore, on the global level, it is difficult to make a policy decisions to foster a reduced reliance on fossil fuel. Decision makers are confused on how to proceed for country’s energy mix for the future as there is general support for cost effective energy efficiency techniques and on the supply side an endorsement of an increased use of renewable and sustainable energy sources. In fact, both the efforts are necessary at present; but ‘renewable and sustainable energy sources’ have limited potential over the near term. However, in the developed and industrialized countries, the significant energy efficiency gains and use of renewable energy sources have been seen over the past two decades, that changed the dependence on fossil fuels and energy scenario to a great extent on their industrial and residential front.

D. The supply potential from renewable energy sources, at present, is difficult to assess since they are only emerging technologies and currently not suitable for meeting large energy demand of a country. With differing relevance for the various renewable energy sources, technological improvements are needed and basic challenges exist in reducing costs, improving efficiency and reliability, solving energy storage problems and integrating the technologies into existing energy systems. In most of the developed countries many decision makers in the opinion that, non-hydroelectric renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind will not be economically competitive for large scale production in the foreseeable future and that they will play no more than a limited role in the decades to come. They opine that, even with adequate support and subsidies the share of such renewable energy sources could reach only 5-8% (including about 3% non-commercial energy share) of primary energy supply by 2020.

E. Fortunately, hydroelectric has already been extensively developed and in use in Europe and North America (some 50% of the estimated maximum economic potential). Its greatest potential lies primarily in Asia, South America and Africa, where the trend will likely be towards small capacity units as concerns grow about the damaging environmental and social impacts of large dams.

F. Energy security and implementing proper energy mix strategies for oil importing countries are very much crucial especially in the scenario of rapid industrialization. For those countries, in my opinion, renewable energy must be developed in parallel with nuclear power and a clean-up of coal-fired power station technology, if these nations are to meet increasing demand without relying on enormous and potentially debilitating natural gas imports. For a nation the provision of sufficient, affordable and secure energy is crucial for any modern economy. Many countries are facing the challenge of bridging the widening gap between energy supply and demand. At the same time, across the globe, those same economies are facing challenges such as climate change, limited resources and rising costs. Therefore, for oil importing countries, energy mix should shift more towards, nuclear power and clean coal technology.

G. There are very large amounts of remaining oil, gas and coal left in the world and in the absence of concerted government initiatives, it may take many years before alternative energy sources such as wind and solar become a significant part of the world’s energy mix. It is true that some renewable sources such as bio-fuels and wind have attained ten-fold production increases throughout the past ten years. However, global energy demand is increasing at such a rate that, if we ignore hydro-electricity, renewable energy - as a proportion of total energy supply - may well remain at less than 2 per cent of the total market for many years to come. It may be noted here that, global climate change may be best addressed in the short term by energy conservation, by increasing fuel efficiency, and by subsurface storage of the carbon dioxide that results from burning fossil fuels. At the same time, the greatest advantages of nuclear power is that it avoids the wide variety of environmental problems arising from burning fossil fuels, apart from economically generating a high amount of electrical energy in one single plant using small amount of fuel.

H. Therefore, concerted efforts by such economies, in order to have secured energy for their sustainable developments, should involve large scale nuclear expansion, the development of clean coal-fired power stations, implementation of hydro-electric power to maximum potential and a increase in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.


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