US #27 in transition to renewable energy

The World Economic Forum has released their 2019 report on how the world is progressing on the latest energy transition. Over the centuries,  we’ve transitioned from wood to fossil fuels. Now we need to electrify most everything and switch to renewable

The ETI (Energy Transition Index) combines three factors: environmental sustainability, economic development and security and access. Click here for the summary report.

Urgent and accelerated measures are required to have a noticeable effect on environmental sustainability. Beyond enabling policies and investments in alternative power generation and electrification of transport, deep decarbonization strategies of economic sectors with higher abatement costs than other sectors, such as aviation, shipping and heavy industries including steel and cement production, need to be pursued through energy efficiency and demand management.22Employing Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies that offer pathways to enhance productivity and efficiency is important for faster progress on environmental sustainability. Negative emissions options, such as carbon capture and sequestration and natural carbon sinks, must be prioritized to buy more time. Moreover, given the scale of the challenge and the urgency of expedited action, a common understanding among policy‑makers and the private sector is required on the priorities and pathways for environmental sustainability.

The US only ranks #27 in the list of nations, with northern European countries at the top.

Back in 2010, I went on a study tour to Denmark and Sweden to learn about their innovations around energy, water, transportation and urban planning. As I said in my 2010 article summarizing my findings,

“I don’t know why everyone keeps talking about [renewable] electricity,” said Anders Dyrelund, Manager of Climate and Energy with Ramboll Denmark. Forty to sixty percent of their electricity load goes to heating. Thanks to the second law of thermodynamics, all energy eventually degrades to heat, so why not capture it and put it to use? They place power plants right in the city that produce both heat and power. Many of these plants burn trash [after the recyclables are separated], which is a more controlled way to manage the pollutants.

Waste heat is transported by insulated closed-loop water pipes that snake around the city. (See my photo above.) With this insight of capturing and using waste heat, poof, roughly 40 percent of their need for electricity disappeared.

Darcy Hitchcock