What are the sources of your electricity and energy? Whether we are private household consumers, business owners, members of communities/municipalities, employees of global enterprises, it is our right and even obligation to know where our electricity and energy come from. At least in countries with free markets, where consumers have a choice and the possibility to compare between different providers and to choose between different sources of energy. In free markets with access to multiple electricity and energy sources, including renewables, us as consumers have the freedom to choose between suppliers.
We are free to make our decisions based upon personal values, such as ethics, and for instance choose to pay a higher price for an energy source that is known to be healthier for our environment. We can also choose the least expensive option. In free markets, it is all about consumer awareness and choices based upon personal and/or corporate values. What values do you stand for? What values does your employer stand for? What values does your business represent?
Understanding your options, values and the economy you live/operate in is a baseline for decision-making. Your individual and/or business choices have big impacts upon how our economy is developing and unfolding. When we change our business and individual consumption habits, we contribute to the transformation of the economy. Your decisions have an impact, whether you realize it or not.
The IEA (International Energy Agency) sees four major shifts in the global energy system:
- A swift distribution and falling prices of clean energy technologies, such as solar.
- The expansion of electrification within the global energy market, including EV ́s (electric vehicles).
- A cleaner energy mix in China, with significant changes especially on the coal market in China.
- The United States of America continues focusing on LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports in addition to oil export.
Moreover, total energy demand worldwide will increase by 30% by 2040, with clean energy technologies meeting 40% of the increased demand. Solar energy will become the most inexpensive source of (clean) energy in a number of countries. China and India together will account for around 40% of total global GDP, with one-third of all growth in energy demand coming from India alone. While the global car fleet is expected to double to two (2) billion vehicles by 2040, there will be a completely new market of EV ́s (electric vehicles), with a peak in oil-running vehicles. In Norway alone, every fourth vehicle sold today is already electric.
Nevertheless, oil demand on a global scale will continue to grow. Carbon dioxide emissions will continue to increase despite of actions being taken, with an impact upon our global climate.
In the European Union, four fifths (80%) of all new capacity comes from renewable energy sources, with wind power becoming the leading source of electricity on the European continent in the 2030 ́s. The European Commission strives towards a fully integrated internal energy market, whereby energy has to flow freely within the European Union. The EU sets directives that regulates the energy market within the union (in European Union member states), allowing for member states to adjust their legislation and energy market to meet the criteria set by the European Union. The European Commission states that regardless of advancements on the European energy market, its performance could be improved. (European Commission: A fully-integrated internal energy market 2017).
IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, with headquarters in the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi), is an IGO with more than 170 member states dedicated to offering a number of services and funding for renewable energy projects. IRENA publishes reports and publications within the renewable energy sector. For instance in IRENA – Turning to renewables: Climate-safe energy solutions (ISBN 978-92-9260-044-0), IRENA declares that in order to meet the demands of the Paris Agreement, 100% decarbonisation within the energy market worldwide would have to take place within the upcoming five decades.
It is clear that the requirements for a cleaner energy future that will help us reach the targets of the Paris Agreement are extremely ambitious and demanding within a global market where population growth is rapid and the total demand for energy grows at an annual rate of 3.4%. This has been recognized by all stakeholders and by leading organizations such as IRENA, OPEC, OECD, UN, EU, The World Bank, and the WEF just to mention a few. All of these adhere to the Paris Agreement, recognizing that more action has to be taken worldwide for us to have the capacity to meet the constantly growing energy demand, including both fossil fuels and renewables, while tackling climate change and its consequences in a world with a rapidly growing population.