NAMIBIA is heading towards a future where renewables are the flavour of the day, and therefore, it is critical that the energy mix is carefully blended by policymakers, to ensure a sustainable economy.
When fossil fuels were in vogue, research went into perfecting the technology around oil wells and gas fields, as well as optimising automotive petrol technology.
For decades, research into wind, solar and biomass energy stagnated, and as a result, these technologies have remained more expensive and less viable.
Then global warming and climate change created an increasing urgency around finding less carbon-intensive energy solutions; and we now have a lot of catching up to do on the renewables front.
Today, we should not make the same mistake, by concentrating all our research efforts on renewables alone, while neglecting fossil fuels.
This will leave future generations with little flexibility on how to fulfil energy demands, if requirements change again. There may well be a highly efficient way to use fossil fuels, which may be useful in some parts of the world in future.
We should not force oil and gas producers into extinction, and let their 100 years and more of intellectual capital, go to waste. Research must continue into all energy sources. It should focus on improving efficiency, analysing carbon as a raw material and the area of carbon capture and storage.
As we grow our knowledge, we should ensure that we create a diversified energy mix and avoid another energy monopoly situation.
Today’s decisions will drastically affect how we experience the world in the future. The way forward requires a level-headed approach and an honest discussion among energy specialists and industry leaders. We need to clearly define the problems and causes, to better find solutions.
The challenge is to reflect honestly on the problems and their origins, and to establish clear, measurable solution objectives, while working towards a more inclusive and responsible future energy landscape.
We need a systematic, reliable and robust transition towards a greener energy mix, with a reliable energy supply, so that other objectives like easing income inequality, creating jobs and easing water stress can also be achieved.
An integrated resource plan will involve cross-boundary agreements, as well as decentralised operations. The world can no longer afford to operate in silos, as we aim to create a better life, with less energy.
The 2016 International Energy Outlook report (IEO2016) predicts significant growth (48 percent) in demand over the years, to 2040. Most of this growth in energy consumption is set to take place in Asia, most notably China, followed by India.
The report further suggests that the industrial sector will account for most of the total delivered energy use through to 2040, although the fastest-growing end-use sectors will be residential, commercial and transportation.
To meet future energy demands, significant technological advances will be required to support renewables, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and mobility. Because social, political and geographical conditions differ from country to country, so too will the solutions that work best.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015