“In our study we examined the local situations and different needs in various regions of the world,” notes Michael Süß, member of the Management Board of Siemens AG and CEO of Siemens’ Energy Sector, when presenting the study at the World Energy Congress. “Of course, besides sustainability and the need for dependable power supply, economy is always important – there would be no point in closing down new coal-fired power plants ahead of schedule just to cut CO
2 emissions. But it is equally apparent that all-out expansion of renewable energy sources alone does not automatically improve the climate balance, as rising CO
2 emissions in Germany impressively highlight. On the other hand, shutting down aging coal-fired power plants not only reduces emissions significantly, but can also make economic sense, as has been proven in the United States. In our study, we analyzed various scenarios while keeping an eye on a three-way balance between sustainability, reliability and economy,” Süß explained.
The study shows that – despite extreme differences in regional conditions – all countries fit fairly comfortably into one of five archetypes in the energy context. In countries with only slowly rising power demand there are on the one hand the “green pioneers” who bank heavily on renewables, and on the other the “traditionalists” with only a low proportion of ecofriendly power. Among the countries with rapidly increasing demand for electrical power there are the “energy-hungry” nations that have already achieved a high level of electrification, and the “next-wave electrifiers” where there are still major gaps in power supply to all households. The fifth group identified is the “oil export maximizers” that are characterized by the challenge to enhance efficiency in the field of oil and gas exploration.
As regional highlights of these analyses, the study found for example that Europe could save some EUR 45 billion in its drive to expand power generation from renewable resources by 2030 if those sources were tapped at the best locations – while achieving the same ratio of renewables in the power mix. In this scenario, new solar power plants would be installed mainly in Europe’s sunbelt in the South, while wind power plants would be built in the windy northern regions of Europe. In the United States, the USD 80 billion losses per year due to indirect costs of power failures could be saved if the quality of the grid were improved. And in China it would be possible - despite the doubling of power consumption - to freeze CO
2 emissions at today’s level if renewable energy sources were exploited at full-scale. However, this would also require nearly double the investment volume. By contrast, emissions could be cut back by almost as much, but at no extra cost, if one third of China’s coal-fired power plants were replaced by modern gas-fired units by 2030.
In its global energy study, Siemens has examined regional situations with allowance for predicted future developments in various markets. The aim was to determine what approaches are best suited from national and global economic perspectives for creating reliable and sustainable energy systems with high efficiency but still at affordable power prices.
In the lead-up to the World Energy Congress, Siemens Energy Sector has
held a number of events at which a comprehensive picture of the energy
situation and the specific challenges facing various regions of the
world was presented. Experts from the political and business arenas,
science and technology engaged in a dialog on the global and regional