According to International Energy Agency, the world consumed over 1500 Mtoe (Million tons of oil equivalent) of electricity in 2010 – out of which Industry used up almost 42%, Transport above 1% while Others like Agriculture, Commercial, Residential, Public Services etc. accounted for 57% – about two and a half times the global consumption 30 years back.
In the same breath, the world spewed more than 30000 Mt (million tons) of CO2, doubling over the same comparable period – coal being responsible for about 43%, oil for 36%, Natural Gas 20% and industrial waste, municipal waste etc. making up for rest of the degradation.
IEA estimates that “economically exploitable” global coal reserves throw up a projection of “some 150 years of production” at current level – more than 3 times as much energy as natural gas can supply us with, and 2.5 times of energy promised by oil.
The carbon footprint of coal is known to be higher than that of oil or natural gas. If we continue to burn coal at current levels, we’ll be releasing more carbon dioxide to an already carbon-laden atmosphere, more than it ever was, for as far back as we can look back in history.
So while the consumption (and consequently the production) graph keeps forking up, the carbon graph is tailgating, not far behind. We have successfully managed to imperil the life (sustaining) expectancy of earth.
So where are we getting to, as we gaze at the crystal ball? By 2030, the electricity demand will be double of what we consume today. CO2 emissions will billow up by mushrooming proportions – unless we can drastically cut them by half to avoid dramatic – and dreadful – climatic changes.
Can we tackle this challenge of having to handle twice the demand for energy at half the carbon emissions level – a dilemma 4 times doubly difficult?
Besides coal, natural gas and oil, we have no doubt harnessed other resources like nuclear, hydro, bio-fuels, solar, wind, tide, geothermal etc. But the big question remains: Are we making the most of our energy?
The answer to that is based on the extent and effectiveness to which energy conserving, energy efficient and energy management solutions have been adopted across applications, whether it be in Industry, Energy & Infrastructure or Buildings.
We need to be SMART today if we want to be SECURE tomorrow. Smart Generation and Flexible Distribution linked through Demand Response with Efficient Homes and Efficient Enterprises will build the Smart Grid – and Smart Cities of the future.
Energy Management, sounding patently simple as it does, is a technology-enabled pool of Energy Efficiency solutions that have to be put in place and practice, sooner rather than later, at homes, offices, institutions, plants, utilities, industries, sites etc. – across economies and geographies – without exception.
The 21st century will be dominated by Smarter Solutions for an energy-hungry planet.