Power lines connecting Lisbon to Beijing? That’s possible – in an all-electric world. I expect the efficient & clean electrification of almost all energy application by the mid of the 21st century, collecting and trading clean renewable power from millions of decentral generation sites with billions of consumers at continental scale.
I shared this vision with industry representatives during the “Watt’s Next?” @eurelectric European Power Summit in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana this week. And I was very impressed to find a huge level of interest for an environmentally sustainable global electrification agenda.
Why am I an advocate of an all-electric world? It is due to the highly favorable benefits that naturally go hand in hand with clean electric power, ones that I mentioned in my keynote address…
Electric power is by far the most versatile and efficient energy carrier
Just a few examples from everyday life: Global Railway electrification has grown steadily in recent decades, and as of 2018, electrified tracks account for 27 percent of all routes globally. E-Cars are clearly on the rise, bringing better air quality, reducing noise, and offering the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Or simply take my favorite example: the usage of heat pumps at small and large scales. Electrification of the residential or commercial heat supply in the northern hemispheres is regarded as one of the most efficient and cleanest ways to heat homes and other commercial buildings with increasing power supply from renewable sources such as hydro, wind and even solar.
Compared to fossil fuels, electric power is the most efficient type of energy applications
Compared to direct usage of fossil fuels in engines or ovens, electric power is far more efficient to provide energy for the mobility of goods and people as well as the efficient production of heat when and where it is truly required. As an example: heat pumps produce from 1kW of electric energy over 3x the amount of heat.
I absolutely agree with the Eurelectric President and CEO of Enel, Francesco Starace(article “How electrification can help clean up the European economy” / Politico, May 31, 2018):
“ Looking at the entire well-to-wheel phase, electric vehicles are as much as three times more efficient than conventional ones from an energy-use standpoint.”
Electric power can be transmitted highly secure over long distances with minimal losses…
… efficiently integrating even the remotest large offshore wind, onshore wind, PV/solar or traditional hydropower generation sites. This is an unbeatable advantage, because only little amounts of fossil fuels will be needed to generate large amounts of electricity from renewable sources in a secure way around the clock. In my eyes, this makes electric power absolutely future-proof.
After all, electricity from renewables is coming with very low emissions – a requirement for decarbonizing the power sector and achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
Electric power has the necessary characteristics for managing the global energy transition towards a sustainable future.
It drives efficiency in consumption thanks to low losses in any energy transformation and paves the way for the fast and efficient integration of renewables at all scales, from tiny to very large.
And eventually by the mid of this century – it’s the key energy carrier that allows for a continental supergrid connecting Europe and China, allowing to benefit from large power trades across many time zones. The first power lines at over one million volt with capacities reaching 12GW are already under construction in China today, transporting power over very large distances.
It is equally required to seamlessly organize the evolving complexity of the future power system with smart and digital solutions. Intelligent energy management systems at local, regional and international level, handling intermittent generation, demand side power management, storage and a fast growing electric vehicle sector are quickly entering the market.
A snapshot could be found under this link: https://sie.ag/2p7lMFx
Thank you for the valuable discussions and the inspiring dialog during the @eurelectric Power Summit in Ljubljana!
I’m convinced that the pooled expertise of the entire industry can empower the revolution of the energy system.