Arquivo de etiquetas: descarbonização

Deep Decarbonization Pathways: Country Case Studies III

What We Learn From Countries’ Deep Decarbonization Pathways

In the previous chapter I described briefly some of the key elements of the methodology we adopted in the deep decarbonization pathways project. In this chapter, we’re going to look at some of the results now.

So what we learned from the analysis of the 15 research teams of their respective countries’ pathways to deep decarbonization.731

Well first and, and very importantly, so let me pause a moment on that. Their results show that deep decarbonization is feasible. It’s a very important result. It shows that we can avoid dangerous climate change if we take strong and early action to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, if we invest heavily and rapidly also into some of the key pre-commercial low carbon technologies that are critical to achieve deep decarbonization at relatively low cost.

And also if we more profoundly reorient our development trajectory. I must say that the DDPP is still at an early stage. We have much more research and analysis and I hope good results coming in the upcoming months or even years. So far the country research teams have only produced a first set of interim results.

732So the precise level of emission reductions that is reached by the different pathways and that I’m going to show you is in many ways less meaningful than simply their order of magnitude. So that’s what I want you to concentrate on.

The order of magnitude of emission reductions achieved by these pathways is very substantial. As you can see on this graph, it represents an absolute decrease of emissions by 45% in 2050 compared to the level of emissions in the same 15 countries in 2010. As you can see on this other graph, it also represents a 56% decrease in emissions per capita and even an 88%, so very close to 90% decrease in emissions per unit of GDP. So the CO2 energy-related emissions divided by the GDP in 2050 compared to the level in 2010. Let’s look more closely at some of the results sector by sector.

The results also show the pivotal role played by electricity in the deep decarbonization strategies of all 15 countries. In aggregate across the 15 countries the carbon intensity of electricity, so the ratio in between the CO2 emissions and the electricity generated, measured in kilowatt hour is reduced by a stunning 94% in 2050 compared to 2010. So that’s a huge number. It means that by 2050, really electricity is almost completely decarbonized in these 15 countries taken together.

733As you can see on the graph, the carbon intensity of power generation goes from a bit more than 600 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour in 2010 to approximately 30 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour in 2050. So it’s really, really a huge drop and it means as I said, that essentially electricity is almost zero carbon by 2050.

That’s why electricity plays such a pivotal role in the deep decarbonization strategy, but it’s not the only one. There is another explanation and it’s because in the meantime electricity plays an increasing role in the energy system. A higher share of the electricity consumption is met through electricity as opposed to other energy carriers.

734As you can see on the graph, the share of electricity in final energy consumption increases from 19% to 35% in 2050 compared to 2010. But that was for the results in aggregate, so making averages across countries or looking at the total out of the 15 countries. But what is especially interesting is that the results also show the different options that are available to the different countries, in particular, to reach that common goal of the deep decarbonization of power generation, electricity supply.

It’s true that by 2050 all countries generate electricity almost exclusively through zero or very low carbon energy sources, but they rely on very different options to be frank to do this, as you can see on this graph. So let me just pick a few examples. Australia, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea, for example, rely heavily on solar energy as part of their power mix.

735It can be different types by the way of solar energy. It can be solar photovoltaic, or it can be concentrated solar power. It can be centralized solar energy or decentralized solar energy. But all of these countries have a very high share of their electricity that is coming from solar energy by 2050 in the pathways and developed by the research teams. Wind power plays a very important role in Canada, in China, in France, in Germany, in India, in Japan and also in the United States, where there is a significant potential for wind power that can be tapped into.

Hydropower plays a very important role in Brazil and Canada, also because there are large and sometimes still untapped resources of hydropower in these countries. Nuclear on the other hand represents a significant fraction of power production in many countries, France, the U.K., China, India, the U.S., and Russia. It plays a very little role, but, but still a role in some other countries such as Brazil and Canada and Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa. And CCS, very importantly, also plays a role in some of these scenarios.

Remember as we have discussed in the previous lecture, CCS is not yet deployed at scale, even though each and every element of the technology is a proven technology, but in the project we’ve made the assumption that as a result of a strong and sustained effort on research and development, CCS could become available and in fact many of the countries in the project with high shares of fossil fuels, so coal or gas in their power generation today felt like it was an important element of their decarbonization strategy going forward.

So you find carbon capture and sequestration in the scenarios that were developed by Canada, by China, by Indonesia, by Japan, by Mexico, by Russia, or the U.K. and the U.S. I want to mention here that these pathways and their results are of course only illustrative. I mean they shouldn’t be confused with the precise reality of what is going to happen in these countries or even what should happen in these countries, because there are many different ways in which the deep Decarbonization of power generation in particular can be achieved at the national level.

For example, in the project, the team producing the pathway for the U.S. developed not just one but three different pathways. Within the different pathways, higher shares of renewable energies for one or nuclear for the other or fossil fuels with CCS for the third pathway. And it’s very important to recognize that the most effective but also cost efficient way of achieving deep decarbonization is of subject to debates.

736First within the expert community. We had disagreements first. We tried to settle in the project, but it should also of course be the topic not only for an expert discussion but it should become the basis for a political debate within each country and each society.

So for sure, there are different options, different trajectories to deep Decarbonization in the future. But it is absolutely critical that these debates happen on the basis of detailed road maps for the deep decarbonization of the power sector, but also of the economy more broadly.

These detailed road maps need to be based on transparent assumptions regarding the availability of some pre-commercial technologies.

  • They need to be based on transparent assumptions regarding the projected cost of these technologies.
  • Also, transparent assumptions regarding their resource requirements. I mean how much water do we need to use? Or, how much land do we need to use to operate these technologies?
  • And also transparent assumptions regarding their possible side environmental and health impacts.

There are really important choices to be made regarding the best options for deep Decarbonization based on considerations regarding economic competitiveness, energy security or public preferences.

But these choices need to be made within the constraints of a global carbon budget to stay within 2-degree of global warming. The result of the pathway analysis also reveals in which sectors the emission reductions are relatively at least most difficult to achieve. Because in total, if the 15 pathways achieve an absolute reduction of CO2 energy emissions, the share of the emissions of some sectors and in particular the share of emissions from transport and industry is increasing in the pathways taken collectively.

737The analysis reveals that within the transport sector it is the emissions from freight as opposed to passenger transport which are again relatively more difficult to decarbonize.

As we have discussed, there are lots of different technological options to achieve the deep decarbonization of the freight and heavy industry sectors. Natural gas, electric hybrid, and hydrogen and fuel cells powered trucks. Biofuels or synthesized fuels for air and ocean shipping. Electrification of heating processes but also carbon capture and sequestration maybe for industry.

But it’s true that the feasibility and the scalability of these options is sometimes still uncertain and their costs are also likely to be quite high. And this is why some of the teams in some countries found it difficult to build in these technologies in their decarbonization model.

So to conclude this chapter, the pathway analysis that was developed by each of the country research teams and although their only at an interim phase at this stage, they already provide lots of very interesting insights on the country’s specific challenges of deep decarbonization, but also and most importantly the possible solutions to them. We will revise the analysis in the coming months.

We will for sure explore the potential for even deeper emission reductions because we’re not completely there yet. We will test the robustness of the analysis, add some new dimensions such as infrastructure stocks and analysis of the cost and benefits, and analysis of the policy frameworks to support the implementation of these different actions. But really you should also try to think about it yourself.

You should try to come up with alternatives to what we developed and who knows, maybe you would come up with even better solutions.

Deep Decarbonization Pathways: Country Case Studies II

The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project

All the reasons I mentioned in the previous chapter why countries need a deep decarbonization pathway are precisely why we’ve launched the deep decarbonization pathways project. We’ve built this project as a collaborative effort to understand how countries can transition to a low-carbon economy by mid-century and how the world can meet the objective of limiting global warming below 2-degrees Celsius.

The project gathers some of the leading research institutions from 15 countries, all of them among the largest emitters of greenhouse gases emissions. Together and combined, they represent a little bit more than 70% of the global emissions. So, which are these countries? It’s Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

It’s a long list and I can tell you it was not easy to manage a project with so many participants scattered across the so many different time zones. The day very often started with an early Skype with colleagues in China or India and finished many times with a late call with colleagues in Australia or South Korea. But it was really great fun for sure.

These 15 countries are at different stages of development. And that’s an important point. They have different historic responsibilities in climate change, also different capacities to invest in climate change mitigation. But as I said, they represent more than 70% of the global greenhouse gases emissions.

721So their strong actions are really, really important to meet the global goal of limiting global warming below 2-degrees Celsius. So what was the task of the 15-country research teams. Well each of them has been developing a deep decarbonization pathway to 2050 for its country and we’re going to look in this lecture at some of the key results coming from their very insightful analysis.

The objective was really to take into account in detail all the relevant country-specific national circumstances. As I said, their socioeconomic conditions, their model for economic growth and development going forward, their infrastructure stocks very importantly, or their natural resources endowment. Why did, did we want to do that? I mean why be so detailed?

It’s really because we wanted to make a convincing case for action at the national level, because before we started the DDPP, there were already many results of global studies produced through global models showing how to achieve deep emission reductions. And the result of these global studies provide many important insights. And we have already discussed them at length into some of the previous lectures. But on their own they’re a bit insufficient to make a really convincing case for action at the national level. And that’s at least for two different reasons.

  1. The first is obviously because they are not sufficiently detailed. And yet deep decarbonization strategies need to be based on the most precise available estimates of the mitigation potential within countries and even more than that, in different regions and locations.
  2. But there is another reason, less technical, more process related. It’s because if we want them to really become the basis for a public and a policy discussion, then the need to be developed within countries.

They cannot be imposed by an international institution or by a bunch of consultants sitting in New York or Paris. They really need to be developed by local experts and discussed within countries with all the different stakeholders that have a stake in the issue of climate change negotiation. Defining country-specific targets for deep decarbonization pathways was not an easy task I can tell you, because it raises many practical, but also political issues. And in fact, the reason why the international negotiations have made such slow and disappointing progress since the entry into force of the U.N. Convention on Climate Change is in part because of a continued disagreement about how to share the global effort of emission reductions across countries. It is certainly not the only obstacle, but it’s an important part of the deadlock, because countries have different interpretations of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

One of the key principles of the U.N. Convention on Climate Change, they disagree over the criteria that could be used to share global emission reductions between countries. Should we take into account historic emissions? How can we account for the fact that some countries have high emissions because they’re exporting the carbon intensive products that are consumed by other countries? How can we account also for the fact that countries have different mitigation potentials and therefore different costs of mitigation, but also, different capacities to invest in these mitigation options? All these questions, all these unresolved issues so far have blocked the international negotiations, and they have resulted in insufficient, widely insufficient action to date to reduce the emissions.

But in a way what is even more problematic is that it has prevented countries from even looking at what it would take to limit global warming below 2-degrees Celsius. The truth is that in order to stay within the 2-degree global carbon budget, every country with the notable exception of the least developed countries, but we have a full lecture dedicated to that, every country except the poorest among the poor countries will have to achieve deep emission reductions. And in particular, all of today’s large emitting countries.

The issue of who pays for the investment cost of deep decarbonization is of course essential to ensure that the global effort to reduce emissions is shared in an equitable manner. But before looking at the issue of these investment costs and who pays for them, it is critical to explore how each and every country can transition to a low-carbon economy. We need to identify technically feasible and sustainable deep decarbonization pathways, even before we quantify their costs and benefits and discuss who has to pay for them.

So how can we do that? Well we have already explained why the convergence of per capita emissions by 2050, although it cannot be used as a criteria for the fair allocation of the global carbon budget, is still a pretty good benchmark to set the target of deep decarbonization pathways; at least one of them. It cannot be considered as a criteria for the equitable sharing of the global carbon budget because it doesn’t reflect some important considerations such as historic emissions or the fact that some countries export carbon intensive goods that others consume.

But it is nonetheless a pretty good benchmark because very few countries will technically be able to fall below the 1.6 tons of CO2 energy per capita that is necessary to have a 50% chance of staying within the 2-degree limit, or the 1.1 tons of CO2 energy per capita if we want to have a higher chance, a higher than two-third chance of staying within the 2-degree limit.

Not even the low-income countries with emissions per capita lower than this level today because the catch-up economic growth in their countries will and should drive their emissions up, even as they improve the carbon intensity of their GDP growth. So as a result a very few countries can be below the global average, then very few countries can be above.

But I should say that even more important than the precise level of emissions in 2050, it is really the order of magnitude of the emission reductions that is important and that needs to be consistent with the globally agreed 2-degree limit. And this is what we’ve been looking at in the deep decarbonization pathways project as a way to explore the options for the deep decarbonization of each and every country and in a way break the deadlock of the climate negotiations.

Deep Decarbonization Pathways: Country Case Studies I

Why Countries Need Deep Decarbonization Pathways to 2050

Today we’re going to look at some of the results coming from the deep decarbonization pathways project. We kept talking about the DDPP.

This is an important step forward in this course because it means that for the first time we’re going to discuss in detail the country-specific ways in which countries can transition to a low-carbon economy, deeply reduce their emissions but also continue to grow their economy and ultimately achieve sustainable development. So far we’ve looked at the results of a global mitigation scenario. And we have calculated by how much the emissions from each sectors, the emissions from power supply, from industry, from transports and buildings must decrease to stay within the 2-degrees limit.

We’ve also described the three pillars of the deep decarbonization of energy systems. The energy efficiency, the low-carbon electricity, and the fuel switching, which we said represents the foundations to design successful deep decarbonization strategies. And finally, we have identified the key technological challenges that must be met through directed and accelerated technical change to meet the global challenge of deep decarbonization.

But a key question remains. How can these general principles, how can these high-level strategies be applied to particular country with vastly different national circumstances?

Today we’re going to see what specific solutions are available to individual countries taking into account their different national circumstances. We’re going to take into account their different socioeconomic contexts, their different aspirations and model of development going forward, but also their different natural resources endowments. And we’re going to see how these country-specific solutions can be implemented.

Defining country-specific solutions to deep decarbonization is really essential, because if the world collectively is to meet the challenge of climate change mitigation, then every country, but in particular, all the large emitting countries in need to have a good strategy to achieve both their economic objective, growth development, but also the global goal of deep emission reductions consistent and in line with the 2-degree limit.

To do so, countries need what we’re going to call in the rest of the lecture, deep decarbonization pathways, or DDPs. What is this? Well it’s a road map or a blueprint if you want for each country to map out how they can transition to a low carbon economy in line with the 2-degree limit. So why is it so important that countries develop these deep decarbonization pathways?

Well it’s for a number of pretty simple reasons, although to be frank, they’ve not been fully grasped by many, but it is our hope that as a result of the deep decarbonization pathways project, each country will soon have one and that the global agreement to be reached in Paris at COP21 in 2015 will encourage countries to produce one. But we’re going to discuss that in further detail in the last chapter of this lecture.

Countries need deep decarbonization pathways to, mid-century, to the year 2050 because the nature and the scale of the global warming problem are such that there is unfortunately no quick or no easy fix to it. Deep Decarbonization will not happen overnight. As we’ve seen, the ultimate objective is the phasing out of the freely emitting fossil fuels, but that’s not going to happen tomorrow.

It will only happen as a result of our sustained efforts during the second half of the century. So that’s a pretty long time scale. And there is also no silver bullet to the challenge of deep decarbonization. There are many critical technologies.

And we’ve been discussing in detail some of them. Solar photovoltaic for example, wind power, nuclear for some countries, carbon capture and sequestration if it becomes available, electric vehicles for sure. A bit everywhere. But none of them is sufficient alone to deliver the necessary emission reduction.

So they need to be combined all together. Deep decarbonization is not about incremental change or small deviation from business-as-usual. And if we don’t design even the rather short-term climate change mitigation strategies with the view of achieving a long-term objective that is consistent with the 2-degree limit, then we really run the risk of being misled because we could lock in some high carbon infrastructures that could prevent us from reaching that long-term goal in the future.

711Let me simply pick one example to make this point very clear. Shifting from coal to gas as the United States is currently doing through shale gas and fracking delivers some significant short-term emission reductions, because gas is a lower carbon source of energy than coal. But it is still a pretty high carbon source of energy, at least compared to renewable energies or nuclear. So a power mix that would be primarily made of gas would emit way too much CO2 compared to the objective of deep decarbonization in line with the 2-degree limit. So the shift from coal to gas can in a way only be a matter of buying time, a bridging option if you want, towards a truly decarbonized energy system.

The deep decarbonization pathways we’re talking about therefore need to backcast from the global goal of limiting the temperature increase below 2-degrees Celsius. The need to explore the transformations that are required to reach this goal. What do I mean by backcasting? Well it’s, it’s a term I use to describe a process where a target is set for the future and then the changes needed to achieve that target are determined through the process of backcasting.

It’s very important that you don’t confuse backcasting with rigid, central planning because a process of deep decarbonization must be very adaptive. These deep Decarbonization pathways will have to be continually revised and updated based on your results from climate science, new technological innovation along the way and also the lessons learned from the early implementation phases of these pathways. But it is really essential that countries explore the changes to their growth models, to their development frameworks and in particular to their energy systems to reach the global goal of staying below 2-degrees Celsius of global warming.

There are also less technical, more process-related in a way reasons why deep decarbonization pathways are so important. They’re important because they’re an essential tool for promoting a national dialogue on climate change mitigation options, to launch what is really necessary, a process of intense and complex problem-solving. They’re really a critical instrument to enable a, a public, but also a policy discussion in every country on how best to achieve these emission reduction objectives, how to understand the possible tradeoffs in between multiple objectives, but also to identify the synergies, the win-win solutions.

The discussion over these deep Decarbonization pathways should involve all the relevant stakeholders, the policymakers, the business, the civil society. All the different types of expert communities with some knowledge on the issue, the climatologists, the engineers, the geologists, the economists, the other social scientists, they should all debate very intensively the best options for deep decarbonization, identify the bottlenecks and propose new approaches. In fact, you should try to develop a deep decarbonization pathway for your own country.

Look at the pathways that were produced in the context of the deep decarbonization pathways project, or at other studies if unfortunately your country was not part of the first phase of the project. Try to come up with different possibly even better solutions, discuss them with your professors, other experts, NGOs, business people. Even your politicians if you have access to them. Send your proposals to us. I can promise that it will not only be a very interesting assignment but something very useful to do

The Key Technological Challenges of Deep Decarbonization VI

The Role of Technology Roadmaps and Roundtables

To conclude this lecture, I want us to spend a bit of time discussing the mechanisms that could ensure the timely deployment at scale of some of the technologies we reviewed, but also the many others we did not have time to talk about, but which are also critical to the success of deep decarbonization strategies in our economies.

661Some skeptics try to discredit climate change mitigation efforts by saying that this is against progress, that this is an anti-technological innovation agenda that we’re trying to impose limits to growth, that we’re trying to limit the right to development.

The truth is I’m not even sure if they’re convinced by their own arguments. What is sure is that they’re often made by the incumbents of the fossil fuel economy and it’s probably not randomly, because they have a biased interest in more of the same technological innovation. I hope I’ve managed to convince you that climate change mitigation is certainly not an anti-technological innovation agenda. In fact, achieving deep decarbonization is a formidable technological challenge and one that will require years of sustained efforts to develop and demonstrate these breakthrough new low carbon technologies.

But what is very true is that we don’t need just any kind of technological innovation. We don’t need new sophisticated technologies to explore always deeper fossil fuel resources and new technologies to drill under the Artic. What we need is directed and accelerated technological change. Directed first because we need technological innovation and human creativity to confront to the challenge of human induced climate change and find solution, not further add to the problem.

And accelerated technological change because we have a very tight timeline to avoid the dangerous effects from human induced climate change whose effects are irreversible. So we need these critical low carbon technologies to become available quickly and to be rapidly deployed at scale.

There are pretty good reasons to believe that the necessary technologies for deep decarbonization are within reach, from an engineering and a cost standpoint. But their commercial readiness needs to be accelerated by providing the adequate policy support and also by building the necessary public and private partners. Effective global strategies for a deep decarbonization must include strategies for promoting actively the development and the diffusion of these low carbon technology.

What is interesting is that there is a great deal we can learn from the previous successful attempts to drive technological innovation in a particular direction. All these previous successful attempts share a number of important characteristics.

  • First, clear goals and timelines for technology performance were set.
  • Second, public and private actors were organized around the development of long-term technology road maps.
  • Third, the industry both competed but also cooperated to identify the promising lines of inquiry and demonstration of these technologies.
  • Four, grants were sometimes issued on a always highly competitive basis.
  • And five, and quite importantly the intellectual property of these new technology was frequently shared or at least open-source in between the different participants to the research and development efforts.

There is one element in particular I want to stress because I think it is of high relevance when we’re talking about low carbon energy innovation. It is that technology road maps and technology round tables can play a key role in driving oriented technological innovation.

They could play a key role because they could complement the more market based instruments for the transition to a low carbon economy such as putting a price on carbon through a carbon tax, or an emission permit system, or implementing all different types of regulations.

It, it’s very important that you don’t confuse these technology road maps with rigid, central planning, because this is really not what this is about. It’s very important that a technological innovation process be adaptive. It’s very important that it does not preclude any promising technology from playing an active role in future mitigation efforts.

We need to leave room for new discoveries. And therefore the goals that are set in these technology road maps should be frequently revised. They need to take into account the new developments from science, the lessons learned from the previous faces of discussions in these technology round tables.

So it’s really not an exercise to pick the winning technologies for a deep decarbonization, because eventually the market will have to reveal which are the lowest cost option. But you should look at this process of technology road maps and round tables as an essential process to make sure the market has enough winners to pick from eventually.

These technology road maps have been used successfully in, in many technology eras, including a very successful one, the semiconductor industry, but also in genetics. And they were used to identify the priorities for research and, and development. It’s really true that these road maps help mobilize and organize the public and private stakeholders and expert communities around the definition of shared priorities and, and really help insuring the effective use of, of scarce unfortunately, resources for research. So they will also really be a key tool in driving directed technological innovation for the low carbon technologies.

The Key Technological Challenges of Deep Decarbonization V

Electric Vehicles and Advanced Biofuels

Here I want to introduce to the debate some of the key low carbon technologies in the transport sector, because so far in the previous chapters we’ve been discussing mostly about promising new technologies in the power sector.

We’ve been discussing about smart grids and energy storage to operate power systems with high penetration of intermittent renewable energies such as solar or wind. We’ve been discussing about carbon capture and sequestration. We’ve been discussing about fourth generation nuclear reactors.

So mainly technologies for the power sectors. Although that’s not completely true, because carbon capture and sequestration, although its main market in the future might well be in the power sector could also and very importantly be used in industry, in the carbon intensive industries such as cement or steel for example.

652But as we saw when we were analyzing the results of the global mitigation scenario in the previous lecture, the decarbonization of the transport fleet is also absolutely fundamental to achieve emissions, reductions, levels consistent with the 2-degree limit. So it must start with the decarbonization of personal vehicles, but it must also extend to the Decarbonization of the heavy-duty vehicles, the decarbonization of aviation and also of ocean shipping.

So how can we do that? What are the options that are available to reduce emissions in the transport sector? Well there is a very wide range of cutting edge technology that hold great potential to decarbonize much or all of the transport sector. Which are the options? It includes in particular, high performance batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or advanced biofuels or even synthesized fuels. But the truth is that most of these low carbon technologies for transport are still pre-commercial or at least they’re not yet deployed at a very large scale.

Electric vehicles in particular offer great potential, especially for the private vehicles, but also for buses and even some say, possibly for trucks. But it’s important to underline here that electric vehicles can only be considered as a genuine low carbon solution for transport if electricity is produced by using low carbon energy sources.

This is why it’s so important to design comprehensive, deep Decarbonization strategies within the framework of the three pillars we have introduced. The electrification of energy consumption, in particular electrification of the transport sector must be combined with the shift to the low carbon electricity in the power sector.

651Most electric vehicles today use lithium batteries. And the performance of these batteries has already made great improvements in the recent past and it is expected to improve even further. Although the performance of that particular type of batteries, the lithium batteries is expected to improve only incrementally. But the good news is that we have many other option for electric vehicle batteries. They will be required to achieve higher energy and power density, lengthen the vehicle range and lower the upfront vehicle costs but there are many development programs currently underway.

I should stress that lengthening the vehicle range in particular is really critical to the success and the large-scale deployment of electric vehicles in the future because it would make sure that electric vehicles can be used for all sorts of purposes and not only for the short distance travels that we do within our cities.

It’s also important to understand that theuptake of electric vehicles is also limited today by the lack of infrastructure to charge the batteries of these vehicles. So to insure the large-scale deployment of these electric vehicles in the future, the infrastructure will also have to be built and not only the technology of the vehicles be improved and the, the network of the charging stations will have to be expanded insure the success and uptake of electric vehicles.

It will most likely require public-private partnerships with cities and local authorities in particular playing an important role together of course with car manufacturers and electricity companies. They should strike these partnerships to share the payment of the upfront investment costs of building this infrastructure network.

So that was for, I mean one of the most promising option of reducing emissions in the transport sector through the electrification of biofuels. There is another option potentially which is the use of biofuels. And especially liquid biofuels. They’re interesting because they offer the prospect of decarbonization of the transport sector together with the continued use of the existing infrastructure and technologies, including the internal combustion engines, but also the oil pipeline and the gas station pumps we have already built. So the fact that they use, they would use the existing infrastructure is of course a, a very big asset in favor of the biofuels.

But the truth is that the biofuels also have a very clear downside unfortunately. Or at least some of them have. Because many of the existing biofuels such as a maize based ethanol produced in the U.S. compete with other critical land uses such as food production or ecosystem needs like land and water utilization.

So it’s a serious concern. There is potentially a solution to this problem, a response to this concern and it lies in the, the development of a new generation of advanced biofuels and, who precisely aim to overcome the issue of the competition in between the biofuels, the food production and the other important ecosystem services.

There are many different types of advanced biofuels that are currently under development. Let me mention just a few. Again, it’s not a comprehensive list, but you can think of the bioengineered organism such algae or bacteria used to produce biofuels. Another example is the processing of non-foodstuff from non-arable land into biofuels and, such as cellulosic biofuels produced from wood products. And there are even efforts to produce fuels directly from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide without using any biological organisms, a process which we call artificial photosynthesis. Although it is still at an early stage of research and focuses on, primarily on producing hydrogen.

But overall and to conclude this chapter on the most important technologies in the transport sector, it’s really important that we would further, and I would say, harder on the research, development and demonstration of these next generation biofuels to make really sure their large-scale use doesn’t induce deforestation or doesn’t compete with a food production which would be a…a terrible news for food security in a world where we expect to have 9.5 billion people by 2050.

The Key Technological Challenges of Deep Decarbonization III

Carbon Capture & Sequestration

Here we’re going to discuss about carbon capture and sequestration. So what is it, what kind of a technology is that? It looks almost frightening. So carbon capture and sequestration or CCS, I’m going to use the acronym a lot because otherwise it’s too long, is the capture of CO2 at large stationary point sources such as coal or gas fired power plants, oil refineries, cement plants, or steel mills.

625What are the common characteristics between these different types of activities? It is that they emit exhaust gases with a relatively high concentration of CO2. And it’s an important aspect of where CCS could be feasible.

We need to have somehow a pretty high concentration of CO2 within the entire exhaust gases to be able to operate the CCS technology. That being said, there are broadly speaking, I mean of course there are many more than that, but broadly speaking there are two different types of CCS technologies. What is called pre-combustion CCS technology and post-combustion CCS technologies.

So very simply with post-combustion technologies the CO2 is captured after combustion through a chemical process that separates CO2 from the other gases. Whereas for the pre-combustion technologies the CO2 is removed from the fuels themselves through other chemical processes, but this time as the name obviously indicates, before combustion. So that’s for the capture part of carbon capture and sequestration, CCS. But what happens after that, what do we do with the CO2, because it cannot simply remain in the air once we have separated it through one of these two different techniques?632

Well after the CO2 would be captured at the point source, it would be transported by pipeline to an appropriate geological site for storage under the ground. So what does that mean? I mean what could be considered as an appropriate geological site? I mean what are the conditions that must be met by these sites to safely sequester the CO2 under the ground for a very long period of time? Well as you can see on the picture in front of you there are broadly speaking again, there are more than that, but broadly speaking, three main different options for the geological sequestration of CO2.

  • The first is that what is called mineable coal beds, so it’s a fancy term to speak about the coal veins that cannot be mined.
  • The second type is the depleted oil or gas reserves.

So very simply the empty oil and gas fields, ones that have been exploited where you could put the CO2 back in. And the third and in fact the most important because the scale of these third categories is potentially much higher than the other two, the third type is what we call the deep saline aquifers. So types of geological grounds that are found deep under the earth’s surface.

633So that was for a very general description of the different steps in the process of carbon, capture, we should add, transportation and sequestration of this CCS. So where are we in the process of developing this technology? Well CCS has not yet been proved as a whole system at a large scale. But all the individual components of CCS, so the capture, the transport, the sequestration, all of them are pretty well established technologies and they have been tested in demonstration projects. And to date there are approximately 12 CCS projects that operate under the globe at stationary point sources and most of them are projects on natural gas processing plants while some others are on fertilizer production plants.

So what is really the challenge going forward? I mean what are the obstacles that would need to be overcome if carbon capture and sequestration was to become a real option that could be deployed at scale in many countries? Well there are serious challenges, different types of challenges.  One is costs. The other is scale. And finally there is an issue, an unresolved issue so far regarding the verification that carbon is really sequestered under the ground.

  • So the first open question, what is the optimal power plant design to facilitate carbon capture at relatively low costs?
  • Second open question, what is the best choice of geological sites for the storage of CO2 potentially at a very large scale? I mean we might be talking about tens or hundreds of billions of tons of CO2 to be sequestered during the coming decades. So where is the geological potential for that? I mean which sites would we select to do that?
  • Third open question, what is the design of a reliable and economic hope infrastructure for the transport of CO2?
  • And if you want a fourth question, what are the mechanisms for insuring that the CO2 that is stored remains permanently out of the atmosphere, a very important question indeed, because it determines the success of CCS eventually.

So these are important questions. There are of course other questions. All of them need good answers. But given the importance of carbon and capture and sequestration in many of the deep decarbonization scenarios, including the ones

634I’m going to present when I discuss the results of the deep decarbonization pathway project, given the importance of this technology in so many of these scenarios there is really an urgent need to scale up the research, the development and the demonstration of CCS to test if it can be deployed at scale, if it can be deployed at, at scale safely.

And if it can be deployed at scale at acceptable costs, because the truth is that being able to rely on the large-scale deployment of CCS would greatly facilitate the deep Decarbonization efforts, given what we stressed many, many times now and it is the obvious very heavy dependence of the energy systems on fossil fuels today.

The Key Technological Challenges of Deep Decarbonization II

Grid Management of Power Systems with High Penetration of Renewable Energies

Here we’re going to discuss how the challenge of managing power system, so the way we produce electricity; how the challenge of managing power system with high shares, high proportion of intermittent renewable energies can be met.

So by intermittent renewable energies we mean some of the renewable energies that are intrinsically time variable in the way they produce energy such as wind power or solar energy, but I’ll come back to that in a moment. The good news, to start with is that the cost of power generation through renewable energies is declining very sharply as a result of at least two different effects.

  • The first being technological advancements as a result of research and development.
  • The second being the economies of scale as they progressively become more and more deployed in our energy systems.

621The cost of the solar photovoltaic cells in particular has declined very, very sharply in the recent years as you can see on this graph. You can see on the graph that the cost per watt of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, so that is the main technology that is being used today to generate electricity out of solar energy, that I’ll discuss in a moment, which other types of technologies potentially even more could be used in the future.

But you already see on that graph a very, very compelling decline in the prices of these cells. I mean they went from $76 U.S. dollars per watt in 1970 to $0.74 in 2013, some…an effect that is sometimes called the Swanson effect and that should, well ring a bell. I mean it really looks like the Moore’s law in the semiconductor industry.

622The cost of the wind turbines has also declined, although a bit more gradually. I mean nothing as spectacular than the cost of the photovoltaic cells, but still a significant decline in the recent years.

It’s important to underline here that the price per watt of solar photovoltaic cells is not the same thing that the price of producing electricity through solar photovoltaic energy which is sometimes called by the energy experts, the levelized cost of energy, LCOE. And in fact the price of producing electricity through solar photovoltaic energy remains more expensive than the alternative sources of electricity production, at least in many places.

It’s not the case everywhere. It’s true that solar photovoltaic energy has reached what we have called in the previous chapter, the grid parity. So the cost at which it is competitive with other sources of power generation. So solar photovoltaic energy has reached this grid parity in several regions and, and countries, but not everywhere and…by far. So their costs still need to significantly further decline to enable eventually their very large-scale deployment at a competitive cost. That being said, and it’s an important point I want to make, going forward, the main challenge in relation to renewable energies is likely to be not their costs but how to operate power system with high penetration of intermittent renewable energy.

623So what is that? I mean what is really the problem and, and how do these renewable energies really differ from the other sources of power generation we have today, like coal or gas or hydro or nuclear? And why does it make the operation of the power system more difficult and more challenging? Well as I said, it’s because solar and wind energy are intrinsically in a way time variable for a very simple reason, it’s because wind is not always blowing and sun is not always shining.

So that’s a defining characteristics of these technologies. But on the other hand, the power grid needs to be able to match energy demand and energy supply on a moment by moment basis to maintain the functionality of the power system to make sure that each and every time you need energy there is an energy source to supply and meet your demand.

Traditionally, this is accomplished by using large generators such as coal-fire power plants, or nuclear power plants to provide what is called base load power. And these stable base load generators are then complemented by flexible, readily dispatchable units of power generations such as gas turbines to make a system overall capable of as I said, matching supply and demand at any point in time by the addition of base load power and flexible, readily dispatchable units of power generation.

B624ut going forward, we need to find new low carbon solutions to the issue of supply and demand balancing because as you can see, we cannot in a world where we try to avoid the dangerous effects of human-induced climate change and therefore in a world where we try to deeply reduce the energy emissions, we cannot rely on coal powered generation and gas turbines to, or at least not without carbon capture and sequestration to ensure the balancing of the energy system and going forward, dealing with the intrinsic time variability of some of the renewable energy.

So how can we do that? How can we ensure power system balancing while meeting the constraint of deep emission reductions? Well there are three main ways in which a power system with high penetration of renewable energies can be balanced while again, meeting this constraint of deep decarbonization.

  • The first one is that the intermittent renewable energies, so again, wind, solar, typical examples, can be complemented with other stable sources of low-carbon power supply such as nuclear power, or coal and gas fired power plants, but with carbon capture and sequestration. That’s very important. Not freely emitting coal and gas. Coal and gas plus CCS, or other example, hydropower for countries that have such a potential. Or we can also build a system that links the uncorrelated or that links negatively correlated sources of intermittent renewable energies because that’s a way of dealing with the intermittency of each type of renewable energy; by making sure that combined, we don’t have or this intermittency or at least that we reduce it. So that was for the first broad category of things we can do to balance the energy and the energy supply and the energy consumption with high penetration of renewable energy.
  • Second, there is also great potential to better adjust the time profile of energy demand to the time profile of power supply. And this is broadly speaking what we call demand management. And the truth is that the cost of demand management technologies have declined very significantly.

So it’s not so much an issue of cost going forward, but the main challenges are going to lie in information management, grid management, but also in setting the appropriate economic incentives for demand management. So this is something really interesting, that has great potential to help operate power system with high share of intermittent renewable energies, but the truth is that it’s not going to be sufficient. What will be absolutely critical is to improve our energy storage options.

That’s really important, energy storage. And there is already a variety of electric storage technologies that are known and have been demonstrated on a broad range of time scale from seasonal to daily to hourly to second by second storage, because we need all of that to ensure the functionality of the power system.

625For example, large-scale pumped hydroelectric storage has been cost effective in many countries for decades, but the problem is that it is not available everywhere.

So it will be very important to develop other storage technology options and there are currently a number of options being considered such as batteries or compressed air or hydrogen, but it’s also clear that further research, development and demonstration is going to be required to determine how best to match diverse storage technology options and their cost effective applications and how to commercialize these technologies at a large scale and at a competitive cos

The Key Technological Challenges of Deep Decarbonization I

The Need for Accelerated Development of Low-Carbon Technologies / Key technologies For RDD&D

Today we’re going to discuss in detail some of the key technological challenges that must be met to achieve the deep decarbonization of our energy systems. This is a very important theme of this course. And in fact, also a very important era for action at the international level because we’ve stressed many times now the importance of developing these new low carbon technologies in addition to the ones that are already available today and already deployed to realize the deep transformation of our energy system that is required.

As I hope you remember, at the end of Lecture that (see The Deep Decarbonization of Energy Systems IV )I presented you the results of a global mitigation scenario that achieves a level of CO2 emission reductions consistent with the objective of limiting the temperature increase below 2-degree Celsius. And we saw that achieving deep decarbonization was certainly challenging, but also very feasible and required in particular the almost complete Decarbonization of electricity supply, the largest source of CO2 energy emissions today. But also the very significant, although less radical emission reductions in the end use energy sectors such as transport, building or industry.

611But if you remember correctly, I also emphasized that the implementation of the scenario depended on the deployment and the development at scale of technologies that are either not yet completely technologically mature, or whose costs are still very high. And today in this lecture, starting with this first chapter I want us to identify which of these technologies in particular are key to the process of deep decarbonization. But I also want us to go through each of these technologies one by one and review which are the main technological challenges that must be overcome if these technologies are to be eventually deployed at scale.

Make no mistake here, many of the technologies that are required to reduce the emissions from our energy systems are already available and many of them in fact are already deployed, at least at a pretty significant scale in the global economy. And this is true by the way for each of the three pillars we said were the overarching framework of deep decarbonization. So remember, improving energy efficiency, decarbonizing electricity generation and switching to low carbon fuels. In each of these three pillars we can pick many examples to make this point.

For example there are many existing technological options to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and our industries. Many options for energy efficient heating and cooling. The use of thermostat in particular can save you a lot of energy simply by turning down the temperature when there is nobody at home, or at night. Replacing the incandescent lights by light bulbs also saves a lot of energy. And there are also many options to improve the insulation of the building envelope, for example, by using double or even triple glaze windows. Appliances and electronics are also much more energy efficient than they used to be in the past.612

And what I’m sure you’ve noticed, the Energy Star label can help purchasing the most energy efficient equipment. So that was for just a few by the way of a very wide range of existing energy efficiency technology.

Let’s turn to the second pillar, the low carbon electricity. Here too there are already many existing options to produce electricity in a low carbon way with either low carbon sources of energy or even completely zero sources of electricity production. Example, hydropower has been used for a very long time now and is by the way one of the cheapest way to generate electricity. Many other renewable energies are also being used, although they’re being used at different scales. Onshore or offshore wind. Solar photovoltaic or concentrated solar power. Some of them have even reached what we call the grid parity.

What is it, the grid parity? Complex term for a very simple concept. It is the cost at which the low carbon technologies are, become competitive with the other alternative forms of energy. And some of the renewable energy, certainly not all of them, and certainly not everywhere, have reached the grid parity with some of their high carbon alternatives. Nuclear power is also used by several countries, in fact close to 40 countries to generate electricity. If we go to the transport sector to discuss some of the existing low carbon technologies, there are already a wide-range of fuel efficient hybrid, sometimes even completely battery electric, light duty vehicles. So for passenger transportation there are also vehicles using ethanol produced from biomass derived sugars and starch. Lots of them for example in Brazil. And also some natural gas or electric hybrid powered buses in many of the cities around the world and by the way, not only in the developed countries but also in, in large parts of the developing world already.613

So to summarize, there are already lots of energy efficient and low carbon technologies that are available today and deployed at some scale. It’s true that they might, they might not yet be deployed at a sufficient scale to reach the challenge, to meet the challenge of the deep decarbonization of our energy system, but it’s also true that they’re poised somehow to achieve much higher penetration rates in the future if we are to implement the right policies to incentivize their further deployment and in particular, the pricing of carbon that will increase the price of their high carbon alternatives.

And you can think of many, many different ways that we will discuss in the next lectures of pricing carbon, either directly through a carbon tax or through an emission trading system or even the implicit pricing of carbon through different types of regulations. But the point I want to make here is that the technologies that are commercially available today, alone, will not be sufficient, at least in many national contexts to achieve deep decarbonization, or at least they are not sufficient at reasonable costs.

The existing technologies might be able to do the job, but they will do so at a very high cost. So the development of the new technologies, some of them we’re going to be talking about in the next chapter, really offers the opportunity of lowering the overall costs, the overall investment costs of climate change mitigation.

But it will require important levels of research, development, and demonstration before we go to the deployment phase eventually. And in the next chapters, we will discuss some, not all of them unfortunately because we don’t have the time, but we will discuss some of the most promising technologies of the future. All of these technologies are known to some degree.

It’s not science fiction, not at all. But most of them are still under development of some form. Some of them have been demonstrated in pilot projects or in small commercial niches and not at very large scale. Some others are technically viable but at a way-too-high cost for their mass adoption.614

Some others yet the complimentary infrastructure that is needed for their deployment and yet some others face barriers for public concerns, so lack the necessary public support for their adoption due to concerns about safety, reliability or other types of environmental impacts, because it’s very important of course to take a sustainable development perspective at these technologies and not to look only at their potential to reduce greenhouse gases emissions.

Some of these technologies might have other important environmental risks that we need to identify and hopefully be able to mitigate. So in the next chapters, let’s see how we can confront these important technological challenges.

The Deep Decarbonization of Energy Systems IV

A Global Mitigation Scenario

Welcome to the last chapter of lecture five, Chapter four. In the previous chapter, I introduced the three pillars of the deep decarbonization of our energy system. So let me just very quickly recap what they are.

  • the energy efficiency and conservation measures.
  • the production of low carbon electricity.
  • the fuel switching from high carbon to low carbon energy carriers.

As I said, these three pillars represent the overarching framework for these deep decarbonization strategies of our energy system. But before we conclude this lecture, there are still two questions that we need to answer.

  • The first is how do these pillars apply to the different sectors of the economy and how can the coordinated implementation of these three strategies result in the overall deep Decarbonization of the economy?
  • The second question is very importantly, the quantification of their effect by how much do each sector emissions need to be reduced to reach level of deep decarbonization consistent with the objective of limiting the increase in mean surface temperature below 2-degree Celsius?

To answer these two questions we’re going to use the results of a global modeling scenario. 541The graph in the top left corner represents the business-as-usual scenario, or the continuation of the current trends. This is if you will, the scenario if we don’t implement climate change mitigation policies which by the way, means that this is a scenario in which we don’t avoid dangerous climate change and we would face the catastrophic consequences from an uncontrolled climate change. As you can see on this graph, on the top left corner, CO2 energy emissions are increasing sharply. They go from approximately 35 gigaton of CO2 energy emissions by 2015 to more than 50 gigaton of CO2 energy by 2050. And in this scenario, in this business-as-usual scenario, emissions from all sectors are rising, but in particular, the emissions from power generation.

542To the country the graph in the top right-hand corner represents a 2-degree Celsius scenario. So in, in this scenario the CO2 emissions are reduced over time to a level that is consistent with the objective of staying within 2-degree of global warming. And as you can see on this graph, on the top right-hand corner emissions peak by approximately 2020 and then they’re reduced, they’re in fact reduced dramatically to approximately 11 gigaton of CO2 energy by 2050. So what do we really learn from the results of this global mitigation scenario? Well it shows a few important things.

  1. First it shows that staying within the 2-degree limit requires deep emission reductions in all sectors of the economy. Profound emission reductions in power generation, industry, transport and buildings. But what is interesting is that it shows also that these sectoral emissions, the emissions from the different sectors are reduced in different proportions. And that is due mainly to two factors.
    1. I mean first, the fact that the different sectors do not have the same technical mitigation potential. So technically not the same options to reduce their emissions,
    2. but also that the cost of these different options in the different sectors is different.

And on the two graphs at the bottom, you can see the amount of the emissions reductions by sector in the 2-degree scenario compared to the reference scenario. And I’m just showing you one example here.

But I want to stress what is really a general result of all global mitigation scenarios that limit the rise in temperature below 2-degree Celsius and it is that emissions from the power generation are reduced frankly to almost zero in these scenarios. And electricity production by 2050 is almost completely decarbonized and because power generation is done by using zero or very low sources of energy such as renewable energy, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, that’s renewable energies. Or on the other hand, nuclear power or fossil fuel plus carbon capture and sequestration. This is a very important result, because the power generation in 2-degree Celsius scenarios goes from being the major source of CO2 energy emissions today to being almost completely decarbonized. So producing virtually zero CO2 energy emissions by 2050.

Another result going beyond power generation is of course that the emission reductions in the other sectors, so in building, industry and transport are also very substantial. So I don’t want to pretend like this is only an agenda for the power sector. This is certainly not the case. The power sector needs to be at the front and center of the deep Decarbonization of energy system, that is for sure, but the energy end use sectors also need to see their emissions decreasing very significantly and very quickly. For example, in the order of 40% for the transport sector in 2050 and 70% for the industry and building sectors in this scenario.543
There are two things I would like to say to conclude this lecture.

The first is that this global mitigation scenario as all the others, again, I picked one example, but all the conclusions can be applied to all the scenarios. This global mitigation scenario consistent with the 2-degree limit rests on the deployment of technologies that are not yet technologically mature, or that are still far too costly to achieve deep decarbonization. Examples of these technologies include carbon capture and sequestration, or nuclear force generation, or smart grids and energy storage to be able to operate the power system with high shares of intermittent. That is, intrinsically time variable renewable energy such as wind power or solar power. It is clear that these technologies will need further research, development and demonstration before they can be deployed at scale and at reasonable costs.

The second thing I want to mention is that I presented you the results of a global mitigation scenario. But as we’re going to see, country specific deep decarbonization strategies show a very wide variety of different approaches based on different national circumstances. These different circumstances includes things like different socioeconomic conditions or different natural resources endowments such as, well different availability of renewable energy potential, or different potential for carbon sequestration sites, or also, and it’s very important to take that into account, different national preferences regarding the different technologies, nuclear or CCS or other technologies. But in the next lectures we will look in further detail at these two questions.

  • First, the key technological challenges that must be met to achieve deep Decarbonization and we will discuss each of them in detail,
  • and second, we will be looking at country-specific case studies to see really concretely how deep decarbonization can be achieved within very different national contexts.

The Deep Decarbonization of Energy Systems IV

Global Mitigation Scenario

In the previous chapter, I introduced the three pillars of the deep decarbonization of our energy system. So let me just very quickly recap what they are.

  • First, the energy efficiency and conservation measures.
  • Second, the production of low carbon electricity.
  • And third the fuel switching from high carbon to low carbon energy carriers.

537As I said, these three pillars represent the overarching framework for these deep decarbonization strategies of our energy system. But before we conclude this lecture, there are still two questions that we need to answer.

  • The first is how do these pillars apply to the different sectors of the economy and how can the coordinated implementation of these three strategies result in the overall deep Decarbonization of the economy?
  • The second question is very importantly, the quantification of their effect by how much do each sector emissions need to be reduced to reach level of deep decarbonization consistent with the objective of limiting the increase in mean surface temperature below 2-degree Celsius?

To answer these two questions we’re going to use the results of a global modeling scenario. The graph in the top left corner represents the business-as-usual scenario, or the continuation of the current trends. This is if you will, the scenario if we don’t implement climate change mitigation policies which by the way, means that this is a scenario in which we don’t avoid dangerous climate change and we would face the catastrophic consequences from an uncontrolled climate change. As you can see on this graph, on the top left corner, CO2 energy emissions are increasing sharply. They go from approximately 35 gigaton of CO2 energy emissions by 2015 to more than 50 gigaton of CO2 energy by 2050. And in this scenario, in this business-as-usual scenario, emissions from all sectors are rising, but in particular, the emissions from power generation.541

To the country the graph in the top right-hand corner represents a 2-degree Celsius scenario. So in, in this scenario the CO2 emissions are reduced over time to a level that is consistent with the objective of staying within 2-degree of global warming. And as you can see on this graph, on the top right-hand corner emissions peak by approximately 2020 and then they’re reduced, they’re in fact reduced dramatically to approximately 11 gigaton of CO2 energy by 2050. So what do we really learn from the results of this global mitigation scenario? Well it shows a few important things.

  1. First it shows that staying within the 2-degree limit requires deep emission reductions in all sectors of the economy. Profound emission reductions in power generation, industry, transport and buildings. But what is interesting is that it shows also that these sectoral emissions, the emissions from the different sectors are reduced in different proportions. And that is due mainly to two factors.
    1. I mean first, the fact that the different sectors do not have the same technical mitigation potential. So technically not the same options to reduce their emissions,
    2. but also that the cost of these different options in the different sectors is different.

And on the two graphs at the bottom, you can see the amount of the emissions reductions by sector in the 2-degree scenario compared to the reference scenario. And I’m just showing you one example here.

542But I want to stress what is really a general result of all global mitigation scenarios that limit the rise in temperature below 2-degree Celsius and it is that emissions from the power generation are reduced frankly to almost zero in these scenarios. And electricity production by 2050 is almost completely decarbonized and because power generation is done by using zero or very low sources of energy such as renewable energy, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, that’s renewable energies. Or on the other hand, nuclear power or fossil fuel plus carbon capture and sequestration. This is a very important result, because the power generation in 2-degree Celsius scenarios goes from being the major source of CO2 energy emissions today to being almost completely decarbonized. So producing virtually zero CO2 energy emissions by 2050.

  1. Another result going beyond power generation is of course that the emission reductions in the other sectors, so in building, industry and transport are also very substantial. So I don’t want to pretend like this is only an agenda for the power sector. This is certainly not the case. The power sector needs to be at the front and center of the deep Decarbonization of energy system, that is for sure, but the energy end use sectors also need to see their emissions decreasing very significantly and very quickly. For example, in the order of 40% for the transport sector in 2050 and 70% for the industry and building sectors in this scenario.

There are two things I would like to say to conclude this lecture.

The first is that this global mitigation scenario as all the others, again, I picked one example, but all the conclusions can be applied to all the scenarios. This global mitigation scenario consistent with the 2-degree limit rests on the deployment of technologies that are not yet technologically mature, or that are still far too costly to achieve deep decarbonization. Examples of these technologies include carbon capture and sequestration, or nuclear force generation, or smart grids and energy storage to be able to operate the power system with high shares of intermittent. That is, intrinsically time variable renewable energy such as wind power or solar power. It is clear that these technologies will need further research, development and demonstration before they can be deployed at scale and at reasonable costs.

The second thing I want to mention is that I presented you the results of a global mitigation scenario. But as we’re going to see, country specific deep decarbonization strategies show a very wide variety of different approaches based on different national circumstances.

543These different circumstances includes things like different socioeconomic conditions or different natural resources endowments such as, well different availability of renewable energy potential, or different potential for carbon sequestration sites, or also, and it’s very important to take that into account, different national preferences regarding the different technologies, nuclear or CCS or other technologies. But in the next lectures we will look in further detail at these two questions.

  • First, the key technological challenges that must be met to achieve deep Decarbonization and we will discuss each of them in detail,
  • and second, we will be looking at country-specific case studies to see really concretely how deep decarbonization can be achieved within very different national contexts.

The Deep Decarbonization of Energy Systems III

The 3 Pillars of the Deep Decarbonization of Energy Systems

Welcome to chapter three of lecture five. I kept you waiting and I’m really sorry for that, but now is the time to start to looking at the solutions to the challenge of the deep decarbonization of our energy systems. How can we do it, that is the question? And in particular, how can we do it while making sure that we satisfy the conditions for continued economic growth and development and making sure that there is growing prosperity over the globe. This is precisely what we’re going to discuss in this chapter.

But first let me recap what is the scale of the challenge. As we discussed previously, CO2 energy related emissions are of approximately 32 gigaton today, gigaton or billion tons. To have a likely chance which let me remind you, we defined as a probability higher than two-thirds, higher than 66%, to have a likely chance then of staying within the 2-degree limit, the need to get down to approximately 11 gigaton by 2050.531

By comparison, to have a 50% chance only, so only one of out two of keeping below the 2-degree limit, the need to reach approximately 15 gigaton by 2050. So we’re roughly talking of a division by a factor two or even three of CO2 energy emissions in the next 40 years.

When in the meantime the world population is expected to grow and it is expected to grow by approximately one-third by 2050 compared to today.532

And the world GDP is also expected to grow and much faster in fact than the world population. It is expected to be multiplied by something like three by 2050 compared to today. So if we combine these different numbers together it means that we’re talking of dividing emissions per capita by something in between two-thirds and three-fourths by mid-century. And dividing emissions per GDP by a factor of six or nine by 2050, which is huge.

And so how can we achieve this decoupling between population and GDP growth on the one hand and energy consumption and CO2 emissions on the other hand?

If you’ve looked at the number, this is by any standard a major challenge, but this is certainly feasible. And I want to show you how.

The easiest way to understand how that can be done is to decompose the drivers of CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions can be expressed as the product of four inputs. CO2 emissions equal population, that is the first term multiplied by GDP per capita, that is the second term, multiplied by energy use per unit of GDP, that is the third term, multiplied by the CO2 emissions per unit of energy, that is the fourth term. If you multiply these four terms, you get simply the CO2 emissions.

I’m just decomposing CO2 emissions into these four terms to explain you where the emissions come from and in turn, to explain you how the emissions can be reduced, through which mechanisms in particular.533

If we take as a given the population trajectory and if we assume a rising trajectory of GDP per capita, in line with successful economic growth and, and development, then the CO2 emissions are driven mainly by the two last factors out of the four.

The first is the energy divided by GDP. And the second are the CO2 emissions divided by energy.

The first term is what we call the energy intensity, meaning very simply the amount of energy per unit of final output. The amount of energy we consume per unit of GDP we produce. The second term is the carbon intensity of energy, meaning the, the amount of carbon emissions per unit of energy we consume.

So let’s look at the ways in which we can reduce these two different ratios?534

So first, the energy intensity of GDP or as I said very simply, the energy consumption divided by GDP. It can be reduced through what we call energy efficiency and energy conservation measures in all the energy end use sectors. And we’re going to look in detail at each of them. First, passenger transportation and freight transport. Second, residential and commercial buildings. And third, industry.

So what’s the difference in between energy efficiency and energy conservation?

Because I just used both. Well usually we call

  • energy efficiency the technical improvements of products and processes. And we use the term,
  • energy conservation to describe a broader set of measures, including not only technical improvements, but more profoundly structural and behavioral changes that lead to lower levels of energy consumed per unit of GDP.

So let’s simply look at some examples to be very concrete and very precise. Examples of energy efficiency and energy conservation measures in the passenger transport and freight transport, for example to start with.535

  • Well first, improved vehicle technologies. That is more efficient vehicles. Vehicles using less gasoline for example per kilometer traveled.
  • Second, what we can call smart urban design. You can think at least of two things. One, building public transportation systems to reduce the need for the use of private cars, but you can think even more profoundly about building cities in a way that minimizes the distance to travel from where we live to where we work. Again, reducing the need for private transportation cars.
  • Third example. Optimized value change. Again, to minimize the distance, but this time the distance we need to ship the products from where they are produced to where they are consumed.

If we look at the residential and the commercial building sector, we can also think of a number of different options.

  • First, improved end use equipment. So more energy efficient equipment in our buildings.
  • But also what we could call smart architectural design. So building our houses in a way that reduces the need for cooling or heating for example.
  • More generally, improved building practices to improve the energy efficiency of the building envelope and also the use of different, less energy intensive construction materials.

If we look at the industry sector, again, many different options for an energy efficiency such

  • as improved equipment and production processes,
  • material efficiency, but also very importantly because the industry is a huge consumer of heat to produce its products.
  • So reuse of waste heat is an important part of the energy efficiency measures in industry.

536So that’s it for all the different ways in he different sectors in which we can improve the energy efficiency of GDP.

So the ratio of energy consumption divided by GDP. But as I said, it’s not the only driver of possible emission reductions.

We now need to looked at the other term, the improvement in the carbon intensity of energy or the ratio of CO2 emissions per unit of energy consumed. And here too the carbon intensity of energy can be reduced in two different ways.

The first is and very importantly, because it’s really at the core of any successful deep decarbonization strategy, it is the decarbonization of electricity generation. So as I said, your objective is the replacement of the uncontrolled fossil fuels, the phase out of the uncontrolled fossil fuels to produce electricity by a mix of different options, because there are different options to produce electricity with no or very little CO2 emissions.

The first is a mix of all different sorts of renewable energy such as hydropower, wind power, solar power, or geothermal energy. But you can also think of using nuclear power or using the fossil fuels, so the coal and the gas used to produce electricity, but with carbon capture and sequestration. So that’s a first important way in which we can decrease the carbon intensity of energy, by decarbonizing the way we produce electricity.

There is another way which we call fuel switching. It means switching end use energy supplies from highly carbon intensive fossil fuels in transportation or in buildings and in the industry to lower carbon fuels. Electricity is of course one of these possible lower carbon fuels, provided it is decarbonized. But there are other possible forms of lower carbon fuels and in particular, the use of biofuels. So again, this is another way of reducing the carbon intensity of energy which we call fuel switching, switching fuel from high carbon to low carbon sources of energy. So let me summarize.

The deep Decarbonization of energy systems rests on three pillars.

  • The first is energy efficiency and conservation measures.
  • The second is the production of low carbon electricity.
  • And the third is the switching of fuels from high to low carbon energy carriers.

I want to stress here that electricity plays a pivotal role in the deep Decarbonization scenarios because you see electricity in two out of the three pillars.

  • First you see that electricity needs to be almost completely decarbonized and we’re going to come back to that in a moment.
  • But also because electricity overall plays a more important role in energy consumption as fuel consumption switches from high carbon to low carbon options.

It is very important that you remember these three pillars because they really represent the basic framework to think about the deep decarbonization of energy systems in any circumstance. As we’re going to see in the next lectures, the precise options within each of these three pillars, but also their relative importance is going to vary of course from one country to the next. But these three pillars really represent the basic foundation to think about deep decarbonization.

537

The Deep Decarbonization of Energy Systems II

Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Trends

In this chapter I want us to take a closer look at the current energy trends. I want us to take a closer look at the current dynamics in the energy markets because to see eventually how we can decarbonize the energy systems, we first need to really well understand what is going on today and how we can reverse the current trends.

So where are we? As you can see on these pie charts, in 2010, primary energy was approximately 13 billion tons of oil.521

And final energy consumption, 9 billion tons of oil equivalent. I am using the unit of billion tons of oil equivalent to be able to measure within a single unit all the different sources of primary energy I mentioned in the previous chapter. By the way, exactly in the same way, we used the unit of CO2 equivalent to measure with a single unit all sources of greenhouse gases.

As you can see on the pie charts, oil is the biggest source of primary energy, 32%. Even before coal, which represents 27% of the primary energy and gas with 21% of the total. So fossil fuels really are and by far, the major sources of primary energy today. And this is precisely where the problem lies.

Final energy is primarily consumed through oil, again. This time for a 41% of the total.

Then electricity for 18%, then gas, 15%, and coal for 10%. But let’s look in further detail in which sectors and for which purposes the different sources of energy are used, because there are some important differences across the different sectors.522

As you can see on these other pie charts, coal as a primary source of energy is mainly used in the industry sector, 80%. Some of the most energy intensive industries include cement, steel, or the mining sector for example.

Oil for its part is mainly used in the transport sector, 60% of the total energy consumption of the transport sector. Oil is used in particular in different forms, but in the internal combustion engine of private vehicles and trucks, but is also used for air transport and ocean shipping. Gas a fuel is mainly used in the residential and commercial building sector, most importantly for heating purposes.

That’s 46% of the total. But also gas is used in industry, for 35% of the total. And finally, electricity is used primarily in the residential and commercial building sector for 57%, to provide lighting for example, or electric heating or to power all different sorts of electrical equipment. But it is also used, electricity is also used in industry.

An example of industry that is very electricity-intensive, that consumes a lot of electricity per unit of output is the aluminum industry. In the recent past and in spite of the repeated commitments to reduce greenhouse gases emissions that we discussed in the previous lectures, the energy consumption and the CO2 energy emissions have continued to rise. And in fact, they have continued to rise very sharply. The CO2 energy emissions increased by 10% during the 1990 to 2000 period.523

And they even increased by 30% during the last ten years from the year 2000 to 2010. And as you can see on the graph, the rise in CO2 energy emissions was especially strong in China. Also in India. Although the Indians’ emissions are of course still much lower than the Chinese emissions. In the U.S. the emissions increased from 1990 to 2000, but they decreased from 2000 to 2010, in part due to a shift from coal to gas in the power supply. In the European Union the emissions fell steadily from 1990 to 2010 due in part to the implementation of climate change mitigation policies but also and a bit more unfortunately, more recently as a result of the economic crisis.

And the emissions as you can see on the graph fell very sharply in Russia from 1990 to 2000, mostly as a result of the collapse uh, of the Soviet Union, that the emissions are more or less flat in Russia since the year 2000. If the growth in CO2 energy emissions during the 2000-2010 period was so fast, it’s because energy demand rose very quickly in this period, mainly due to the rapid economic catch-up growth in some of the world emerging countries. But it’s not the entire story.

The CO2 energy emissions rose very quickly, also because the carbon content of energy consumption increased which is a very bad news from a climate change mitigation perspective. In fact, almost half of the incremental energy consumption in the last ten years during the 2000 to 2010 period came from coal as you can see on the graph. This is absolutely gigantic and even more than during the previous decades.524

So instead of decarbonizing our energy systems, we are currently carbonizing them. The current energy trends are therefore completely out of line with the objective of avoiding dangerous climate change.

In fact, they lead straight to catastrophic climate change because they would induce a rise in the mean surface temperature by 4-degrees Celsius or perhaps even 6-degree Celsius. So the current trend is a trend of very rapidly rising energy consumption and increasing CO2 content of energy when we should instead be further de-coupling energy consumption growth from GDP growth and decreasing the carbon content of energy by relying much more heavily on the low or even zero carbon sources of energy. In the next chapter we’re going to see how this can be achieved.

The Deep Decarbonization of Energy Systems I

What is an Energy System?

Today’s lecture is an important milestone in this course, an important turning point, because so far we’ve been mostly looking at the problems of human-induced climate change. But today, good news, we’re going to start looking at some of the solutions.

Up until now you might think that the picture looked quite grim, and you would have a point because indeed the potential consequences of uncontrolled climate change are very severe, very threatening. And the challenge of avoiding dangerous climate change is also very significant. It requires very deep reductions in greenhouse gases emissions to 511eventually as we discussed in the previous lectures, net zero emissions by the second half of the century. We also mentioned that it, in turn, requires a profound transformation of the way we grow our economies and in particular, a fundamental transformation of our energy systems. But the good news is that this is feasible. This is certainly not easy, but this is feasible.

And today we’re going to start looking at some of the possible solutions to the deep decarbonization of our energy systems. We’re going to do so first at a pretty high level, looking at the solutions at the global level first, but for each of the key sectors of the economy, the energy supply, the industry, the buildings, the transport sector. But in the next lectures we will take a closer look at these solutions by looking in detail at country-specific case studies and also by looking in detail at some of the most important technological challenges such as carbon capture and sequestration, or new generation of nuclear power, or the challenge of having smart grids and energy storage to be able to operate our power system with a high share of intimate and renewable energies, or the challenge of having long-range electric vehicles.

But before we do that, we need to have a good understanding of how our energy systems function. And this is what this first chapter is about. I want you to understand how energy is produced. I want you to understand how it is transformed and how it is consumed because we need that to understand how we can decarbonize our energy systems. The truth is that energy is everywhere in our daily lives. We use for example energy to transport ourselves.512

We use energy to light, to heat, to cool our homes. We use energy also to power our TVs or our computers or our washing machines and fridges. But energy is also absolutely central to the process of economic growth and development because we need energy to produce all the goods we consume. We need even more energy to be frank, to produce the kind of construction materials such as cement or steel that we use to build the infrastructures that support our economic growth and our development. And we also need a lot of energy to ship all these products from where they’re produced to where they are consumed. There are many different sources of energy.

Let me make a short list. We have coal. We have oil. We have gas. We have hydro energy, nuclear energy. And also all different sorts of renewable energies such as solar, wind, or biofuels. We call these different sources of energy the primary energy. And the table you can see is what we call an energy balance. And the different sources of primary energy can be read in the columns to this table. The primary sources of energy can either be used for direct, final energy consumption or they can be transformed into another form of energy, because before their final energy use in energy end use sectors such as transport, buildings, or industry.

Let me take an example to illustrate that point. Coal can either directly be used to produce heat for buildings or different types of industrial processes or it can be used to produce electricity which in turn is used for lighting or to power any electrical equipment. There are also many different types of energy transformation processes which you can read in the lines in the middle of the table. Again, let me pick just three examples. Power plants, very important type of energy transformation process.

The power plants use all different sorts of primary sources of energy such a coal, gas, hydro, uranium, all different sorts of renewable energies to produce electricity. Second example, the oil refineries that transform crude oil into oil products that can be used by ars or by planes. Heat plants that use coal, gas or biofuels to produce heat for buildings or industrial processes.

There are energy losses happening during these transformation processes. And these losses represent the difference between primary energy, and final energy. And, and you can see the final energy end use sectors at the bottom of the table. You see the names of the different sectors, industry, transport and on the graph, other, which in particular includes buildings. The transformation and the consumption of some forms of energy, not all of them, leads to CO2 emissions and therefore contributes to global warming. Some types of energy have no direct emissions such as nuclear power, hydropower, or renewable energy such as solar or wind.

Even if it’s…. And it’s important to mention in, they might induce some emissions through their life cycle, but they have no direct emissions. To the contrary, the burning of fossil fuels, the coal, the oil, the gas emits CO2 through the burning process. And of the three fossil fuels, coal has the highest CO2 emissions content per unit of energy. Its carbon content is on average across the different forms of coal, 22% highest than oil and 68% higher than gas.

So to summarize this chapter, the ultimate objective of the deep transformation of our energy system really is the phasing out of freely emitting fossil fuels. I underline “freely emitting” here because fossil fuels could continue to be used with some technologies and in particular with carbon capture and sequestration. But the uncapped fossil fuels must go, they must be phased out.

511511And we’re going to see in the next chapter that this is a major challenge because fossil fuels still represent the lion’s share of our energy consumption. And in fact an ever-growing share.