Inventing tomorrow’s energy infrastructure
Nevada might be best known for easy marriages and gambling but it is also becoming renowned, at least in environmental circles, for the renewable solar energy it produces. Covering an area of 1km2, Nevada’s solar-thermal power plant drives a 64 megawatt turbine, built by Siemens, and supplies around 14,000 households with electricity while at the same time saving about 80,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Following the success of the Nevada plant, similar plants are being built worldwide.
TODAY’S SITUATION AND TOMORROW’S CHALLENGES
While the clean energy generated by these solar plants is important from a climate perspective, they still are only a tiny piece of the global energy mix. In fact, it is expected that worldwide demand for energy will continue growing, especially in developing economies. This will place mounting pressure on the world’s energy infrastructure, both existing and new. Furthermore, with the vast majority (70%) of the world’s oil and gas being supplied by only a handful of countries, demand for fuel diversity has been growing. And, given the already tangible effects of global warming, renewable energy is clearly preferable.
Massive growth in renewable energy capacity – especially wind and solar – is projected, but it is estimated that by 2030, renewable energy will constitute only 9% of the total generated energy on a worldwide basis. From a climate perspective we need to do much better—all eyes are therefore on the upcoming climate conference in Copenhagen to see if a global deal can be reached that will accelerate investment in renewable energy. But even if the most ambitious targets are reached, then still the world will be relying on a broad energy mix by 2030. The challenges are significant. The world’s existing energy infrastructure needs modernising and so much new infrastructure needs to be built. All this applies to Belgium too. The country urgently needs more energy production capacity and, as the AMPERE Commission showed, we will need to rely on all sources of energy.
SIEMENS TO EXPAND POSITION AS GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE GIANT
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