Write a report on Future Global Energy Production and Infrastructure.
Energy is one of the most important factors of production in any environment, be it private, public, commercial or otherwise. Energy generation has been in private and public hands since time immemorial. This is sometimes the result of one side’s inefficiency, as well as the need to have energy sources that are more in line with individual needs. Energy production is greatly influenced by the source. For instance, much of today’s energy production is powered by fossil fuels, with coal and oil leading the pack in this respect. The need for more power and technology has over time made nuclear power a highly regarded source of power, particularly in the developed world (Hall, Lambert & Balogh, 2014).
While there is continued dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, environmental concerns and political issues have led countries to attempt to pull away from these energy sources. Instead, there is greater emphasis on energy that is seen as being clean, in that it has minimal impact on the environment in terms of emissions. Hydroelectric, geothermal, solar and other such other sources have become increasingly important and popular across the world, though the amount of power and its adaptability is still small (Akpan and Akpan, 2012).
In transporting energy, various models are used. For electricity, power lines are the main mode of transport. Oil is transported using various methods, including the use of tanker ships and pipelines. Smaller quantities are moved by road. Coal uses road, rail and water transport. Renewable sources of energy mainly compose of electricity, which is mainly moved through power lines as indicated before.
Throughout the world, total energy production and consumption has been greatly changing. These changes are the result of several factors. For instance, the global population has greatly increased since the 1960s and before, and continues to do so. This has obviously meant that there are more people in need of energy, and greater pressure on energy producers to deliver more (Jamel and Derbali, 2016).
Technological advances have also played a big role in the nature and amount of energy produced over the years. At the turn of the 20th century, energy production was mainly based on coal. This was gradually supplemented in increased levels by oil, before forms of electricity also became prevalent. As more societies are connected to national and regional power grids, the production of power generated continues to grow due to increased demand.
Energy Sustainability Factors
The global economy has greatly grown, both in absolute terms and in its energy needs. For instance, electric cars have become more common, especially in the developed world. There are more industries, meaning that the amount of energy needed is more than ever before, and continues to grow. Environmental issues have also affected the nature of power generated, with more funds and focus being spent on other sources of energy such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal (Shearer et al, 2014).
Future energy production will continue to shift, as countries seek to be less dependent on others for energy production. This will be motivated by both economic and political concerns. At the same time, environmental issues and increased demand will continue shaping sources and use of energy, with a general movement away from fossil fuels to more environmental0friendly means of energy production and use (Gerhardt, 2016).
This report aims to explore the changing landscape of energy production globally, with respect to rural, urban and global infrastructure and needs. At the same time, the report will examine these issues through the main forces driving energy production changes. These are politics, the environment, demographics, and economic development. These factors are also critical to future energy production and needs. Countries face the challenge to either expand coverage to all sectors of their populace, to invest in infrastructure to produce more power, or to gradually decarbonise their energy production. In all these respects, the emphasis is on more investment. Efforts to have each country commit to cleaner energy production should be encouraged so that future energy production methods are less detrimental to the environment (Akpan and Akpan, 2012).
Shifting energy sources and needs
In the centuries before the 19th, energy production was driven by the burning of biomass – wood being the main component. As the industrial revolution took hold, energy production gradually changed to coal, which was the main source of power by the mid 19th century. While other sources of energy had become slowly more widespread, including hydroelectricity and natural gas, coal remained the most important source of energy, and continued to be so. In 1960s, more than 80% of the global energy production and use occurred in North America, Europe and Eurasia. Due to increased economic growth and urbanisation in other parts of the world, particularly in Asia Pacific, this share has fallen to 43% now, as other parts of the world produce and generate more power (Jamel and Derbali, 2016).
Shifting energy sources and needs
There are shifts in the nature of power used as well. Electricity is becoming ever more important in production and domestic use. This is driven by changing lifestyles that shift energy needs from only the need to keep warm and cook – served by biomass – to electronic items, electric cars and other things that have shifted energy needs. Solar and wind sources of energy are becoming more widespread. By comparison however, coal remains the leading source of energy, accounting for 160 of the 525 exajoules of energy produced in 2015. Other major sources of energy include crude oil and natural gas, with the rest having a minor but significant share of total energy production (Bridge et al, 2013).
Future trends in global energy production
There is an ever louder crusade to ensure energy production does to lead to unsustainable development. The Paris Agreement was one of several attempts to commit countries to cut their carbon emissions over a specific timeframe, meaning that while they need to meet their energy needs, they also need to change the generation methods to cleaner ones (Manolas, 2016).
The environment is not the only motivation. Political issues are also partly to blame. For instance, Germany has had to rethink its energy generation due to political issues with its main supplier, Russia. American efforts to reduce dependence on Middle Eastern oil have led to increased drilling in its own territory, leading to more crude oil production and ultimately, use, as a result of less cost (Gerhardt, 2016; Salameh, 2013)).
Consistent and dependable sources of energy are a major economic consideration today. This consideration has several challenges, mostly revolving infrastructure development and the issues discussed above regarding environment and politics. As governments ponder this, they need to come up with plans that guarantee sufficient power, take care of the environment, and consider the political ramifications of one option over the others. At the same time, changing energy generation methods needs to be gradual and ordered further complicating the case for both the authorities and users (Sorrell, 2015).
From the data of current energy production; it is clear that while the world is making progress in incorporating other sources of energy, fossil fuels still produce most of what we use. Moving away from this will require huge investments, coupled with political sacrifices and disruptions (Owusu and Asumadu-Sarkodie, 2016). There will also be a need to change the nature of certain energy consumers, to suit new sources. For instance, the availability of electric cars needs to be more prevalent. The mode of production of clean energy will also need to be revamped if it is to be considered a worthy alternative to existing sources. Despite any changes that the future will produce however, the world will continue being more energy driven, with only the sources changing (Sovacol, 2016).
Energy production methods are constantly changing. While the industrial revolution marked the initial dramatic change in sources of power, this has been affected in recent years by other factors, most notably economic and population growth in the developing world. At a time when much of the world is concerned with connecting more people to energy, it will be difficult to explore other sources of energy, unless they compliment, rather than substitute, current energy sources. Increased political and economic pressure will however mean that energy production will shift from fossil fuels to other more sustainable sources of energy.
Akpan, U., Akpan, G. 2012. The Contribution of Energy Consumption to Climate Change: A Feasible Policy Direction. International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, 2(1) 21-33.
Bridge, G. et al. 2013. Geographies of energy transition: Space, place and the low-carbon economy. Energy Policy, 53, 331-340.
Gerhardt, C. 2016. Germany’s Renewable Energy Shift: Addressing Climate Change. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 28(2), 103-119.
Hall, C., Lambert, J., Balogh, S. 2014. EROI of different fuels and the implications for society. Energy Policy, 64, 141-152.
Jamel, L., Derbali, A. 2016. Do energy consumption and economic growth lead to environmental degradation? Evidence from Asian economies. Cogent Economics and Finance, 4(1), article 1170653.
Manolas, E. 2016. The Paris climate change agreement. International Journal of Environmental Studies, 73(2), 167-169.
Owusu, P., Asumadu-Sarkodie, S. 2016. A review of renewable energy sources, sustainability issues and climate change mitigation. Cogent Engineering, 3(1), Article 1167990.
Salameh, M. 2013. Impact of U.S. Shale Oil Revolution on the Global Oil Market, the Price of Oil & Peak Oil. International Association for Energy Economics, 27-31.
Shearer, C., Bistline, J., Inman, M., Davis, S. 2014. The effect of natural gas supply on US renewable energy and CO2 emissions. Environmental Research Letters, 9(9), published online.
Sorrell, S. 2015. Reducing energy demand: A review of issues, challenges and approaches. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 47, 74-82.
Sovacol, B. 2016. How long will it take? Conceptualizing the temporal dynamics of energy transitions. Energy Research & Social Science, 13, 202-215.
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