CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTIONS:Nov 16 2019

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Energy transition: Frequently asked questions

North East Asia Solar Energy Market and Outlook 2019-2029 by Installed Capacity, Demand, Project Capacity

U.S. readies first wind-powered steel plant

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Energy transition: Frequently asked questions

  • 2035 When we expect the energy transition to become a reality
  • 20% Of global power needs will be met by solar and wind
  • 20% Of all miles travelled globally by cars, trucks, buses and bikes will use electric motors
  • 15-20% New technologies market share

What is the energy transition?

An energy transition disrupts the status quo. A new energy source emerges, leading to a structural and permanent change in supply, demand, energy mix and prices.

The energy transition currently underway is about a transformational switch away from fossil fuels and into renewable and clean sources of energy (solar, wind and water). More efficient use of energy (using technology such as LEDs, compact fluorescent lights, smart thermostats and appliances) and biofuels also feature.

What is driving the current energy transition?

Powering the energy transition is a technology-based switch from fossil fuels to renewables, supported by an almost ubiquitous societal push towards a sustainable future. There are two primary enablers –  renewables and electrification. But they are out of kilter. Renewables growth is well ahead of electrification trends but, in time, the two will converge. This is the ‘point of singularity’, when the world rings out the old and rings in the new, welcoming the future of alternative energy.

What does the energy transition mean for my business? 

The global energy transition is unstoppable, but uncertainty remains. What if it accelerates? What if legislation is slow to catch up? Get detailed analysis on the future of renewable energy for your industry and sector below. 

The energy transition is already underway.

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North East Asia Solar Energy Market and Outlook 2019-2029 by Installed Capacity, Demand, Project Capacity

The solar energy market in North East Asia has shown remarkable growth, mainly driven by China. Over the past few years, China has taken over all other countries in clean and eco-friendly energy in terms of installed capacity, including solar projects.

China is currently considered the leader in the solar market with many major companies expanding their business globally. The Chinese government is continuously trying to support the sector further by providing various incentives. Some new laws are passed in China to control carbon emissions and to reduce dependency on petroleum-based products. By toughening regulations around electricity produced from fossil fuel, renewable sources like solar energy will likely to gain more market share.

Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are also active in promoting solar energy. Japan plans to increase the electricity generation mix mostly from solar PV, but it is still facing some several challenges in promoting its domestic solar PV industry. The cost of solar system installation and generation are still high. In addition, the grid and land availability are the other two factors responsible for slow growth in the PV market.

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U.S. readies first wind-powered steel plant

For decades, access to cheap coal-fired electricity fueled industrial expansion across the Midwest, from auto plants to steel mills.

These days, a cleaner and cheaper energy source — winds blowing across the central Plains — is enabling new manufacturing investments, key sources of jobs and taxes for states hungry to grow their economies.

The latest example? A $250 million Nucor Corp. “micro” mill taking shape in Sedalia, Mo., that will be the first U.S. steel production plant that will run on wind energy.

The Sedalia mill’s significance stretches beyond the state and represents the potential for greening the steel industry, which globally is a major source of carbon emissions, environmental advocates say. A report last year from the group Mighty Earth — “Cold Steel, Hot Climate” — noted that steel represented 7% of global carbon emissions worldwide in 2013, much of that from less efficient blast furnaces.

The plant is also indicative of what Midwest utilities and clean energy advocates alike see as new potential for economic expansion in the Heartland. While Appalachia has cheap shale gas driving big new investments, the Great Plains has an unlimited supply of even cleaner cheap wind.

The contract between Nucor and Kansas City-based utility Evergy Inc., which will bring new wind capacity online to supply the plant, is part of a broader national trend of corporate renewable energy purchases to achieve sustainability goals.

Chuck Caisley, a senior vice president at Evergy, said the Nucor project symbolizes an advantage the utility has in the states where it does business: Kansas and Missouri.

“Of all the utilities in the U.S., we might be the best positioned to use wind for economic development,” Caisley said, referencing both to the wind resource of the central Plains, the location of its service area in the center of the country, and highway and rail access.

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