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An overview of the sandbox we play in and where we think the world is headed.

October 2017

Affordable, clean & reliable energy is essential to modernity.  The energy sector needs to face the dual challenges of satiating growing demand from the developing world while addressing climate change.  Distributed, low-carbon energy sources are displacing centralized, polluting sources while smart and autonomous electric mobility has the potential to upend the transportation landscape.

Includes 20 most populous countries and a sampling of key energy producers and consumers.   Multiply the per-capita figures by the population number to get total consumption/emissions by country. Notice how some countries have the same per-capita energy consumption but vastly different carbon emissions (e.g. Germany and France) -- this is mostly due to nuclear and sometimes hydro power. The countries where the blue diamond is below the green triangle are more coal-dependent than the world average. This should be the basis for discussions on who needs to up their game on emissions reduction. Source: World Bank - energy consumption and CO2 emissions from 2013, population from 2015.Source: The World Bank

Includes 20 most populous countries and a sampling of key energy producers and consumers.   Multiply the per-capita figures by the population number to get total consumption/emissions by country. Notice how some countries have the same per-capita energy consumption but vastly different carbon emissions (e.g. Germany and France) -- this is mostly due to nuclear and sometimes hydro power. The countries where the blue diamond is below the green triangle are more coal-dependent than the world average. This should be the basis for discussions on who needs to up their game on emissions reduction. Source: World Bank - energy consumption and CO2 emissions from 2013, population from 2015.Source: The World Bank

According to World Bank statistics, the global per-capita primary energy consumption has been compounding annually at 1% for the last 30 years.  This trend is intact even in the 5 years that ended in 2011.  All the while, global population has been compounding at 1.1-1.2% over the last 5-20 year period.

 

Paris Agreement on Climate Change

During 2015 and 2016 nearly 200 countries have signed on to the Paris Agreement at the UN Climate Conference COP21.  It is a resounding acknowledgement of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as global temperatures continue to rise aggressively.

Renewable energy sources will continue to grow at a fast clip, but their intermittency destabilizes electricity grids.  Steady ‘baseload’ power will be necessary to maintain system inertia.  Coal remains the predominant base-load source, electrifying 41% of the world.  Coal's share decline over the next decades presents a long runway for the alternatives.  As nuclear and natural gas fight for base-load share, nuclear’s advantage is lower emissions and less volatility.

Nuclear reactors provide 11.5% of the world’s electricity.  In the U.S. nuclear contributes 1/5 of grid power, but account for ~2/3 of the low-carbon electricity.