Future Global Energy Production and Infrastructure
Energy sources have developed progressively over years to meet its increasing demand. The development of energy can be decomposed into five phases. The initial source of energy was wood up to mid-19th century. Wood was most significantly used to power steam locomotives. As the rails expanded to places where forests were scarce, wood could not be reliable. Coal emerged as an alternative option because its deposits were spread across a relatively wider area and it possessed relatively higher energy content. Coal was substituted by petroleum in around 1940. The transport and industrial production switched to diesel locomotives and use of gasoline. Increased agitation for safety standards in the workplaces and high costs of production of coal contributed to declining of coal as a source of energy. Petroleum and natural gas became a widely used source of energy in the period of great depression and beyond. During the 1980s, nuclear energy and hydroelectric energy sources became more widely used than petroleum. From the year 2000 to present, no particular source of energy is dominant. There is a complex mix of nuclear sources, hydroelectric power, and fossil fuel.
The global energy demand is projected to grow steadily to the scale of 50% higher than the current demand in the next three decades. The developing countries will account for about 70% of the growth in energy demand because of the rapid growth in population and economy. Oil remains the largest source of energy and the largest increase in demand for oil comes from the transport sector. The demand for natural gas is also on the rise due to increase in power generation. The demand for nuclear power will drop slightly as that of hydropower remains steady. Us f renewable sources will increase marginally due to environmental conservation concerns.
The global energy resources are sufficient to satisfy the growth in demand for energy. However, the resources should be further exploited to fill the energy gaps. The main challenge in exploitation is the huge capital investment. The underdeveloped and non-OECD countries face major challenges in financing exploration investments. Adequate capital, technology and human resource can greatly help to bridge the energy deficit. The paper indicates that though London has a sustainable enery supply, it should further develop renewable energy sources.
The main objective of this report is to explore the holistic concept of energy in regard to its production, use security and sustainable supply in the city of London. Particularly, the report examines the energy infrastructure, individual use, commercial use and human expansive factors. The report seeks to focus on the challenges facing the energy production and proposes the mechanisms through which energy supply can be sustained amid challenges such as global warming and depletion of natural resources. Energy production is examined through the following three.
The first objective is to demonstrate how urban and rural consumers in the city of London can be incorporated as active participants in the energy system. The consumers can be facilitated to participate in the energy system by providing information and broadening their understanding of the trends in the market. The report also seeks to demonstrate that providing innovative technologies can help the consumers to contribute to efficient use of energy.
The second objective is to demonstrate how energy sustainability can be achieved through enhancing energy infrastructure across the entire energy system. In this regard, energy infrastructure is examined through enhancing efficiency measures in heating, cooling, buildings and industrial production which can lead to sustainability in energy supply.
The third objective is to indicate how secure, clean and cost effective energy supply can improve energy production capacity. A particular emphasis is directed to exploration and improvement of renewable energy sources to complement the existing sources. Solar energy and geothermal energy are examples of sources that can increase energy production. In all the three factors objectives discussed, the current and future challenges are explored and solutions proposed on how to achieve sustainable production and use of energy.
Energy Sustainability Factors
Evolution of Energy Production
Energy production has evolved through different stages and forms. The order of chronology includes coal, gas, hydro power, oil and renewable energy. Initially, coal was used to power machines in industrial production and for domestic heating purposes. Greeks then built water wheels in rivers as a source of energy, which resulted to production of hydro power. Oil and natural gas wells were then drilled and the oil used in heating and lighting. As the demand for energy grew, nuclear power was commercially produced as a more reliable source of energy. Environmental concerns later emerged and led to the widespread use of renewable energy. Devices have also changed as new energy sources emerge. For example, trains evolved from being powered by steam to oil and then the modern electric trains. Most recently, a car powered by solar energy was invented, acting as a great innovation and response to energy production (Akhter 2015). As the world increasingly becomes sensitive on environmental degradation, depletion of oil wells and water sources, we expect to see a greater use of renewable sources such as solar.
Diversity in Energy Production and Use
Domestic Energy Consumption
Almost all homes in London use energy for heating, lighting and powering of devices. The supply for energy in the city is increasing as shown by the installation trend. In 2015, the city had about 20,250 power voltage installations of which 95% were domestic. The energy usage in London city ranges from 8000kwh for a small house to 18,000 kWh for a large house. Though, only 2% of the energy produced is used in rural areas. This statistics show that domestic consumers play a significant role in the energy system. Transitions in energy production and conservation require that new technologies be implemented. However, sustainability of the energy will require a change in consumer behaviour and use of energy efficient solutions such as renewable energy sources. As new renewable energy sources continue to be unveiled, consumers will play a significant role in the achievement of greater flexibility in energy use. As such, consumers should be engaged more in energy systems through greater understanding, market transformation and provision of information.
A raft of measures can be used to offer information to consumers and enhance their engagement in the energy systems. Consumers can be educated to adapt consumption behaviours based on feedback from meters and in-house displays and smart meters. They should also be informed of their new roles, obligations and rights.
Innovations in Domestic Energy Consumption
Various energy efficient products have been unveiled in the market such as smart meters, renewable energy systems, wireless sensors, local energy storage devices and smart functions in appliances. The introduction of smart meters in London resulted to a 5% decrease in energy consumption from 2011 to 2012. These innovations should help consumers manage to improve their efficiency in energy use and supply. Consumers can use these technologies to detect malfunctions, automation and optimisation of intelligence controls. A wide range of actions should be taken to achieve this aim. The energy specialists should develop solutions that effectively integrate renewable solutions in energy systems at an economical cost. New technologies should also be developed and their efficacy tested in real life situations in regard to energy efficiency behaviour.
Increasing Energy Efficiency in Energy Systems
Meeting the required standards of energy efficiency requires about a 20% saving on energy. Europe has established various regulatory frameworks on energy efficiency. They touch on energy-related products, certification of buildings and energy efficient measures across the energy value chain. These directives should be complemented by innovations in energy saving technologies and elimination of barriers to energy efficiency. For example, innovations should be explored to enable energy efficiency in the transport sector such as energy efficient vehicle engines and recharging infrastructure.
Industrial Heating and Cooling
Heating and cooling in London consumes about 50% of the total global energy consumption. It is classified as non-domestic energy consumption. In London, this class of energy consumers has 400,000 meters and consumes 19643 kWh. Energy saving in these uses will contribute significantly towards efficiency of the energy system. Cooling and heating apply in both the domestic and industrial set up. Technocrats in the energy sector should explore means of improvising cost-effective technologies that improve efficiency in distribution, production and final use of heating and cooling.
Achieving efficiency in cooling and heating requires various actions. Advanced research should be conducted to develop models that forecast the demand for heating and cooling. Engineers should develop fluids that combine the functions of energy transfer and thermal energy storage. Studies on alternative technologies such as magnetic heating using unconventional cycles will also reduce the energy demand for heating. Most consumers do not use fuel cells because of the high costs. Governments should subsidise the cost of fuel cells to encourage their use in residential, industrial and commercial set ups.
Sustainable Energy Production
Production and use of renewable energy are projected to increase tremendously in the next decades. The depletion of natural resources and global warming create the necessity to develop renewable sources of energy. The homes that have solar panels in London save up to 50% of electricity bills. An efficient domestic solar panel generates about 3,400kWh annually. The UK government has established incentives such as the feed-in tariff subsidy and reduced costs of photovoltaic panels. London has a total solar power installation capacity of 8 GW. Renewable energy will rise to be one of the largest energy suppliers as projected by the energy roadmap. Energy generation from the wind and solar will comprise a greater proportion of the much-anticipated growth in energy production. A potential challenge exists because most devices are designed to use hydropower. There is a growing demand for technologies that will facilitate synergies between a wide range of energy networks such as oil, electricity and gas. Smart technologies should be developed in line with the creation of new business models that will manage participants in the energy system.
The harnessing of renewable energy will require stakeholders to take specific actions. Advanced research should be conducted to develop advanced turbines for offshore and onshore applications and methodologies designed to accurately assess and harness wind energy. Industrial research should focus on the creation of new logistics and decommissioning processes. The stakeholders should develop low cost but highly efficient photovoltaic energy technologies and sustainable system conversion efficiencies with lower material consumption requirement. The whole process of integration of this source of energy should be carried out including developing new pilot production lines and system designs. This will enable sustainable integration of photovoltaic energy in the energy system at the most economical cost.
As renewable energy gains popularity in domestic and industrial use, there is an increased need to concentrate solar power. The innovation of receivers will greatly support the harnessing of solar energy. Operational and control tools should be improved to enable accurate assessment of the solar energy. Governments should then enable the consumers to access this new form of clean energy. This can be achieved through subsidising solar components and development of storage options for homes. Families can then switch to solar cooling and heating. The development in solar energy will switch operations such as transport to the use of solar. As the development continues, more of solar powered vehicles will be unveiled to take advantage of the development.
This report has examined the issues of energy production, consumption and sustainable supply in the city of London. A chronological order of developments in energy production is discussed. The challenges facing energy production are reviewed and the appropriate approaches proposed. Three key areas are presented regarding energy production and sustainable supply. First, incorporating consumers as participants in the energy system can improve the efficiency of energy use. As indicated in the paper, the greatest challenge of energy sustainability is wastage. If they are equipped with necessary knowledge and provided with the technologies that enable efficient use of energy, the objective o sustainable supply can be achieved. Second, sustainable energy supply can be achieved through ensuring efficiency across the energy system. Energy production, its use in households and industrial production should observe efficient measures to ensure sustainable energy supply. Finally, exploration of new energy sources add to the total amount of energy production and increase the supply of energy for use in both industrial and domestic set ups.