Natural Gas, Nuclear and Hydrogen
Loyola de Palacio Series on European Energy Policy
Dries Haeseldonckx and William D’haeseleer INTRODUCTION At the start of the twenty-first century, we face significant energy challenges. An important aspect of sustainable development is ‘de-fossilizing’ our future energy economy. This mitigation from fossil fuels towards more sustainable energy technologies is driven by several factors: ● ● ● ● The need for a drastic reduction of CO2 emissions, that is, 20 percent reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 2020 as proposed by the EU Commission (2007). The worldwide energy-dependence issue; fossil fuels alone will not suffice, moreover differentiation in primary energy sources will improve the security of supply. The exhaustibility of fossil sources; at current consumption and production levels, the world’s proven reserves of oil, natural gas and coal are expected to be ‘depleted’ in 42, 64 and 155 years, respectively (IEA, 2006). Although these ‘years left’ are moving targets, prices will rise substantially when oil fields become more depleted. The needs of developing economies; it might be fair to leave the ‘easy sources’ for them. The substitution of fossil fuels by renewable energy sources is a mitigation strategy that is advocated by non-governmental organizations, some research institutes and groups of stakeholders, and can be found in concrete policy goals. The future use of renewables is now accepted by almost every energy analyst; only the level of penetration is currently a matter for discussion. The main modern renewable energy technologies that produce electricity are small hydropower, solar photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, biomass, geothermal power and wind energy (IEA, 2003). Nevertheless, despite being clean and...
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