Friday, February 14, 2014

Energy Forum at Port Metro 2050

I recently spoke at Vancouver’s Port Metro 2050 Energy Forum.  I talked about the need to reframe the debate of energy supply, and to focus on solutions that could either provide—or avert the use of—energy at the scale of about 1 cmo/yr.  The presentations are now posted on the web. My talk (about 30 min long) is in Session 1, and it begins around minute 36.  Too bad that in the posted video the camera just focuses on the speakers and not the slides they were showing.  The slides may be downloaded from the same site.  

The first presentation by Sandra Winkler of the World Energy Council covers the latest WEC thinking about managing the energy, economy, and environment trilemma. WEC lays out two extreme scenarios, dubbed Jazz and Symphony. The Jazz scenario is trade based, consumer driven, and focused on access and affordability It achieves growth through low cost energy and Governments facilitate GHG actions.  It leads to a rather high demand for energy by 2050 of 880 EJ (about 6 cmo). The Symphony scenario is government led, voter driven, and focused on meeting environmental goals and energy security. It includes a binding international agreement on curbing GHG emissions. Under this scenario, global energy demand in 2050 is 700 EJ (4.6 cmo). Either way, the global energy demand does not flatten, but increases by about 50% or 100% of current levels.
In the second session there are presentations about the measures maritime industry is taking to minimize its carbon footprint. Ginger Garte from Lloyds Register pointed out that about 40% of the fuel used on cruise ships goes to powering their hotel services, and 60% is used for propulsion.  Thus, there are opportunities for cutting fuel use by undertaking efficiency measures ranging from LED lighting, replacing sheets and towels only when requested by guests, and smarter management of distributing power to different galleys. She also discussed newer hull designs and coatings to reduce drag and improve the fuel efficiency of the propulsion system. The presentation by Lee Kindberg contains a startling bit of information. It was an an eye-opener for me.  She points out that while the carbon footprint for shipping a pair of sneakers from China to Europe in a container ship is 100 g-CO2, the carbon footprint for a 20-km car trip in an efficient diesel automobile to purchase it at the local mall is 1800 g-CO2.  Like she said, “Mode of transportation matters.”  And, I would add that one needs to be quantitative about these matters.

The final presentation in this set is by Storm Purdy from GE.  His talk focuses on the opportunity presented by the increased availability of natural gas in North America by the developments in shale gas technology.  Already it has allowed the US to reduce its energy-related CO2 emissions from a peak of 6.0 billion metric tons in 2007 to 5.2 billion metric tonnes last witnessed in 1992.  He also described the challenges to increasing natural gas production and installing the requisite infrastructure to handle the wider distribution and use.


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  2. Thanks, a thought-provoking post. You might like to consider this post too House of Change