Energy

Results: 1 - 10 of 15
  • WASTE TO ENERGY
    (Energy)
    Author: World Energy Resources: Waste to Energy World Energy Council 2013Waste-to-Energy (WtE) technologies consist of any waste treatment process that creates energy in the form of electricity, heat or transport fuels (e.g. diesel) from a waste source. These technologies can be applied to several types of waste: from the semi-solid (e.g. thickened sludge from effluent treatment plants) to liquid (e.g. domestic sewage) and gaseous (e.g. refinery gases) waste. However, the most common application by far is processing the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) (Eurostat, 2013). The current most known WtE technology for MSW processing is incineration in a combined heat and power (CHP) plant. MSW generation rates are influenced by economic development, the degree of industrialization, public habits, and local climate. As a general trend, the higher the economic development, the higher the amount of MSW generated. Nowadays more than 50% of the entire worlds population lives in urban areas. The high rate of population growth, the rapid pace of the global urbanisation and the economic expansion of developing countries are leading to increased and accelerating rates of municipal solid waste production (World Bank, 2012). With proper MSW management and the right control of its polluting effects on the environment and climate change, municipal solid waste has the opportunity to become a precious resource and fuel for the urban sustainable energy mix of tomorrow: only between 2011 and 2012, the increase of venture capital and private equity business investment in the sector of waste-to-energy - together with biomass - has registered an increase of 186%, summing up to a total investment of USD 1 billion (UNEP/Bloomberg NEF, 2012). Moreover, waste could represent an attractive investment since MSW is a fuel received at a gate fee, contrary to other fuels used for energy generation, thus representing a negative price for the WtE plant operators (Energy Styrelsen, 2012). However, an increasingly demanding set of environmental, economic and technical factors represents a challenge to the development of these technologies. In fact, although WtE technologies using MSW as feed are nowadays well developed, the inconsistency of the composition of MSW, the complexity of the design of the treatment facilities, and the air-polluting emissions still represent open issues for this technology. The development of WtE projects requires a combination of efforts from several different perspectives. Along with future technical developments, including the introduction in the market of alternative processes to incineration, it is nowadays crucial to take into account all the social, economic and environmental issues that may occur in the decision making process of this technology. Growing population, increased urbanization rates and economic growth are dramatically changing the landscape of domestic solid waste in terms of generation rates, waste composition and treatment technologies. A recent study by the World Bank (2012) estimates that the global MSW generation is approximately 1.3 billion tonnes per year or an average of 1.2 kg/capita/day. It is to be noted however that the per capita waste generation rates would differ across countries and cities depending on the level of urbanization and economic wealth.
  • RENEWABLE ENERGY
    (Energy)
    Author: Copyright @United Nations Environment Programme, 2013Energy is the lifeblood of the world economy. Energy interacts with all other goods and services that are vital for economies and the economic and functional reliance on energy is expected to further increase. In particular, global energy demand has been estimated to grow by more than one-third until 2035, with China, India and the Middle East accounting for 60 per cent of this demand increase (IEA 2012a). As highlighted in the Green Economy Report (GER) (UNEP 2011), the global community and national governments are faced with several challenges with respect to the energy sector. These include: Access to energy: Currently 1.3 billion people one in five globally lack any access to electricity. Twice that number nearly 40 per cent of the worlds population relies on wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste to cook their food (IEA 2010a). 220 and Trade Climate change and emissions: Energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the main drivers of anthropogenic climate change, exacerbating patterns of global warming and environmental degradation. Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel combustion are reported to have reached a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2011 (IEA 2012b). Health and biodiversity: The processing and use of energy resources pose significant health challenges, pertaining to increased local air pollution, a decrease in water quality and availability, and increased introduction of hazardous substances into the biosphere (UNEP 2010a). For example, the inhalation of toxic smoke from biomass combustion can cause lung disease and is estimated to kill nearly two million people a year (IEA 2010a). Adverse health effects from energy use are aggravated by increasing instances of land degradation and deforestation, leading to a simultaneous loss of biodiversity. Energy security: The growth in global population and rising incomes will increase energy demand and result in upward pressures on energy prices and growing risks of importer dependency on a limited range of energy suppliers.
  • Climate Change and Energy Systems
    (Energy)
    Author: TemaNord 2011This report summarises results from the recently completed research project Climate and Energy Systems (CES), which delivered a new assessment of the future development of renewable energy resources in the Nordic and Baltic Regions. The project focused on climate impacts within the energy sector, addressing both the positive aspects as well as the increased risks associated with expected climate change up to the mid-21st century. Main results produced by CES working groups are briefly summarised in this chapter. Statistical analysis of hydrological and meteorological time series The research group focusing on statistical analyses of hydrological and meteorological time series within the CES project made use of data from the Nordic stream-flow database, which consists of 160 series of daily discharge data from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, to analyse long-term trends at individual stations within the Nordic region. Long-term trends in regional series have also been analysed based on precipitation, temperature and discharge records available in the individual countries. The regional series analyses undertaken all point towards a positive anomaly in annual temperature in recent years, relative to the reference period 19611990. Results for precipitation and runoff are much more variable, both between countries and between regions in individual countries. An increase in annual precipitation occurred in Denmark, Norway and southern Iceland and annual runoff increased up to the year 2000 in these same areas and as well as in northern Sweden. Seasonal analysis of runoff anomalies for the Baltic countries indicates a marked increase in winter runoff throughout the region, and a decrease in summer runoff. A strong negative trend in the timing of spring snowmelt (i.e. earlier snowmelt) is found for many of the stations in the Nordic Region. Analysis of the occurrence of peak flow events exceeding the mean annual maximum flood suggests a pattern of spatial variability, with some stations (for example, in western Norway and in Denmark) exhibiting an increase in the total number of events, and other stations (in Sweden, Finland and parts of Denmark) exhibiting a decrease. For the Baltic re- 12 Climate Change and Energy Systems gion, the analysis of the timing of the spring flood maximum discharge suggests an earlier spring flood due to an earlier spring snowmelt. Climate scenarios for the Nordic and Baltic region Regional climate models (RCMs) were used in CES to produce highresolution (25x25 km) climate scenarios for the Nordic and Baltic region. From an ensemble consisting of 15 RCM climate change simulations, three were selected for use in targeted studies within CES, with focus on the period 20212050. Some of the working groups in CES have used scenarios for the entire 21st century in their modelling studies. All three models project a summer temperature increase of at most 2°C over most of the region for the period 20212050, in comparison with the control period 19611990. Increases in winter temperatures will be more variable and most pronounced (up to 4°C) in the eastern and northern areas. In particular, there is a strong response to the general warming over the northernmost oceans where feedback mechanisms associated with retreating sea-ice come into play. The largest precipitation increase will generally be seen in winter. In summer, there is a larger uncertainty and the possibility that precipitation will decrease in southern parts of the region cannot be excluded, although several regional simulations indicate that summertime precipitation could increase over the Baltic Sea. Wind speed changes are generally small with the exception of areas that will see a reduction in sea-ice cover, where wind speed is projected to increase. The analysed RCM scenarios sample only a part of the full uncertainty range for the future climate. This is true both for the 15 selected scenarios and even more so for a subset of 3 scenarios used in most of the impact studies within the project. In order to characterize the full spread in a better way probabilistic climate change signals were calculated based on a larger ensemble of general circulation models (GCMs). It was found that the selected RCM-scenarios in general fit well within the distributions inferred from the wider range of GCM climate scenarios. However, for some variables, regions and seasons there are deviations where the RCM scenarios deviates from the general picture. The results clearly indicate that one should be careful with drawing far-reaching conclusions based on individual model simulations. CES climate modelers have also downscaled results from global climate models to higher resolution (13 km), producing spatially more detailed scenarios than the standard 25 km simulations. The largest differences are seen in mountainous areas, but coastal effects also come into play. Biases are observed in those high-resolution model outputs, when compared with observations, calling for the development and application of bias correction techniques. Climate Change and Energy Systems 13 Additional work done by the climate modeling group involved examination of the inter-annual variability of future climate, studies of the migration of climatic zones, assessment of 21st century precipitation trends in selected regions, studies of the characteristics of North Atlantic Cyclones, studies of storm statistics and future changes in surface geostrophic wind speeds, solar radiation projections and the possible future change in climate extremes in the CES area of interest, as determined by a range of General Circulation Models (GCMs).
  • Adapting to Climate Change: A Guide for the Energy and Utility Industry
    (Energy)
    Author: Tiffany Finley, Associate, Advisory Services Ryan Schuchard, Manager, Climate and EnergyClimate change is expected to bring warmer temperatures, a rise in sea levels, ice melting in the Arctic, more frequent and severe extreme weather events, and decreased availability of natural resources such as fresh water. 3 While the full impact of climate change on business is not entirely certain, these and other climate-related effects may result in new engineering challenges and increased capital costs for accessing and developing energy resources. They may also affect the reliability of transportation, logistics, and distribution channels to end users. In addition to the direct effects of climate-induced volatility, E&U companies will continue to experience increased political pressure as well as rising consumer and investor expectations for emissions accountability and expansion of the contribution of renewable energy-to-energy supply portfolios. BSRs review of E&U disclosures to the Carbon Disclosure Project regarding climate-related business impacts and risks finds that company perceptions of climate risks and opportunities appear to vary significantly. Companies consistently reported being concerned over implications of increased policy pressure to reduce the greenhouse gas impacts from energy production and use. In addition, companies flagged issues such as production input constraints from natural resources, heightened safety concerns due to weather volatility, and rising insurance costs needed to support both capital and operating activities. Several companies highlight diversification in distribution networks as a hedge against climate-related disruptions, while others point to more proactive strategies and innovations, especially where financial returns or distinct market advantage are evident, such as customer engagement and new technology. Some specific examples of climate adaptation issues that were cited included: » Water critical for cooling operations is becoming increasingly scarce due to reduced freshwater availability, yet demand for water as a coolant will likely continue increasing due to hotter weather. » A conflicting and shifting national and international regulatory landscape for greenhouse gas (GHG) management creates uncertainty for climate adaptation investments and threatens to create disjointed or inconsistent standards. » The industry is heavily reliant upon localized and mobile workforces and communities that can be particularly vulnerable to the physical risks of climate change. Our analysis shows that while corporate climate change efforts focus on value protection and risk mitigation, overall adaptation initiatives remain limited in the sector, providing ample space for innovation and leadership. This condition appears consistent throughout the energy value chain from production and generation to consumption, management, and customer engagement.

 

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