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  • Global carbon surcharge for the reduction of anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2020-02-19
    André Thess; Martin Klein; Kristina Nienhaus; Thomas Pregger

    Many governments take the view that voluntary national targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are sufficient to avoid negative climate effects. In the absence of independent verification, however, pledges are unlikely to be sufficient for a rapid and strong reduction of emissions. It is often claimed that a global carbon tax could be an effective instrument. However, such a tax is difficult to set and to collect, especially in countries with poor administrative infrastructure. Here, we formulate and discuss a novel approach, the Global Carbon Surcharge (GCS), that mimics a carbon tax but does not require tax collection by governments. We define GCS as a requirement or a voluntary commitment encompassing all companies extracting carbon-carrying raw materials, namely coal, oil, gas and limestone, with the aim to burden their extraction with costs proportional to their carbon intensity. GCS mandates all companies to store these materials immediately after mining for a given period of time in the vicinity of the production site. Thereby, GCS generates additional costs that propagate through all sectors of the global economy. We elucidate how the investment costs for the storage infrastructure translate into surcharges on the raw materials. We show that by a proper choice of the storage time and the size of the storage unit, GCS becomes equivalent to a carbon tax in the range between 50 and 100 € per ton of CO2 that is assumed to be necessary for the transition to a carbon-neutral energy system. An attractive feature of GCS is that it can be verified, in particular by citizens themselves, using publicly available satellite data. Finally, if compulsory storage is coupled to blockchain-based smart contracts and a mandatory (expensive) mining of cryptocurrency, GCS can be operated without governmental protectionism, corruption and fraud. However, the main uncertainties of the GCS approach lie in the substantial expansion of infrastructure and the fact that the induced price effects must be sufficient to achieve a rapid and far-reaching substitution of fossil fuels.

  • How to achieve the climate targets? Spatial planning in the context of the German energy transition
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2020-02-19
    Julia Wiehe; Christina von Haaren; Anna Walter

    The transition of the energy system to renewable energy depends on how successfully the national objectives can be implemented at the lower planning levels. Germany pursues an incentive-oriented policy that is not spatially targeted and lets regional and local stakeholders determine where and how renewable energies are used. A core question is how to achieve the national goals, in a federal system that allows freedom of planning for the local communities. The aim of this paper is to show the discrepancies between the current expansion of wind energy and the necessary expansion that is derived from a scientific analysis. The study examined the policy objectives for the expansion of wind energy, based on a literature analysis. In a second step, the regulatory competences and spatial planning at the various levels and their influence on the expansion were explored. In a third step, the current procedure was compared with scientific scenarios of the energy system in 2050 and concretized using the example of the Hannover Region. The theoretical and empirical analysis shows that people at regional level underestimate their responsibility for contributing to energy transition. The expansion targets for wind energy in the Hannover Region projected in the scientific scenario are above the minimum demand that the local authorities have assumed. The same applies to the state of Lower Saxony, which underestimates its own wind energy potential and thus its necessary contribution to achieving the national targets. We propose a nationwide coordinated strategy for the successful implementation of the energy transition. With the methodology described, regional targets can be determined and the responsibility of the region and the local actors can be clarified. With the help of spatial planning and public participation, the energy transition can be achieved with this approach.

  • Current state of biogas production in Croatia
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2020-02-07
    Vlatka Petravić-Tominac; Nikola Nastav; Mateja Buljubašić; Božidar Šantek

    For biogas production, different renewable feedstocks, e.g., feces, manure, silage, industrial by-products, and municipal waste, can be used. Biogas production from various renewable feedstocks has positive socioeconomic and environmental impact. In Europe, biogas is mainly used for generating heat and electricity. It consists of methane (55–70% by volume), carbon dioxide (30–45% by volume), and small amounts of other compounds. In some cases, biogas is upgraded to pure biomethane and utilized as vehicle fuel, instead of fossil fuels, thus reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. Biomethane can also serve as a platform chemical in chemical and biochemical synthesis to produce value-added products. The additional positive effects of anaerobic digestion of animal manure and slurries are organic waste degradation, reducing odors, and pathogens. Digestate, obtained as a by-product of anaerobic digestion, is rich in nutrients and therefore is applied as fertilizer in agriculture. Biogas production in Croatia is mainly based on manure and by-products from agriculture, food industry, and slaughterhouses. The obtained biogas is mostly used for electricity and heat generation. Potential for large-scale biogas production in Croatia is still insufficiently used, although various renewable feedstocks are available. More rational and focused management of lignocellulosic residues, animal excrements, food processing by-products, and biodegradable fraction of municipal waste could contribute to the development of Croatian biogas sector. Biogas production in Croatia can be affected by the changes of animal breeding capacity due to the struggle to cope with the European Union (EU) standards and prices. Concerning large unused agricultural areas, great potential lies in their rational exploitation for fast-growing biomass, e.g., for energy crops or perennial grasses. This review will discuss the potential of biogas in the industrial and farming sector, current state of biogas production, and various key drivers and barriers influencing biogas production in Croatia.

  • The role of values for niche expansion: the case of solar photovoltaics on large buildings in Sweden
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2020-02-04
    Martin Warneryd; Kersti Karltorp

    Solar photovoltaic (PV) plants can contribute to the transformation of the electricity system in Sweden not only by adding capacity, but also by forming new decentralized ownership structures and involving new actors. This article focuses on solar PV plants on larger buildings, which represent a significant share of the installed capacity (although the total capacity is still very low in Sweden) and which have a good future potential. We are interested in the reasons owners of large buildings have for investing in solar PV plants, despite the fact that they face a complex regulatory situation. The aim of this paper is, therefore, to identify added values from solar PV plants for large buildings and to see how these values contribute to the ongoing expansion of the solar PV niche in Sweden. We use sustainability transitions as the theoretical point of departure and focus particularly on the role of values in an expanding niche. Data was collected via 15 semi-structured interviews, mainly with large building owners. It provides an interesting empirical case of the pioneers within the actor group of large building owners who potentially can play an important role in the expansion of solar PV technology in Sweden. Theoretically, the article contributes to the sustainable transition research field by demonstrating how values are developed and affect the niche-regime interplay. The findings demonstrate that owning a solar PV plant adds values such as sustainability, fair cost, and induced innovativeness. These values have an effect on niche expansion by contributing for example to the development of a social network, new role development, positive niche narrative, and niche empowerment. We conclude that the broad set of values added by solar PV plants on large buildings increases the desire and enhances the positive experience to take on a new role development. Furthermore, we conclude that added values contribute to developing a social identity which is important when expanding the social network around the niche. Finally, we conclude that added values shape the positive niche narrative among niche advocates and give direction for policy development related to the niche.

  • Designing a solar and wind hybrid system for small-scale irrigation: a case study for Kalangala district in Uganda
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2020-01-28
    Shaffic Ssenyimba; Nicholas Kiggundu; Noble Banadda

    Dynamics in rainfall patterns are posing a threat to crop production in Uganda. Irrigation can be used to ensure constant production; however, the motorized powered irrigation methods are quite costly to run in addition to being environmentally unsustainable. There is thus need for alternative irrigation methods. Renewable energy sources which are readily available can be used to power irrigation systems. This study hence sought to design an appropriate wind-solar hybrid system for irrigating 1 acre of banana plantation in Kalangala district, Uganda. Using metrological data, mean wind speed and monthly solar irradiance of global radiation horizontal for the district were analysed. A wind-solar hybrid system was optimally designed for a standalone drip irrigation system of 450 banana plants on 1-acre land with water requirement of 33.73 m3 d−1. The wind turbine was simulated to analyse for static pressure, cut plane flow behaviour, turbulence intensity and stress distribution exposed at 20 m s−1 wind speed. A cost analysis was done to estimate the total project investment, maintenance and operational cost, annual project gross income, net income stream and the annual net real rate of returns. The simulation results showed that the system could effectively operate at speeds of 20 m s−1 without deformation. The net present value of income stream for the first 5 years at r = 5% was 12,935,468 UGX with a net real rate of return of 3.5% per year. The study will, therefore, be a useful guideline in making investment decisions in hybrids irrigation systems.

  • The politics of energy landscapes: the influence of local anti-wind initiatives on state policies in Saxony, Germany
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2020-01-23
    Gerd Lintz; Markus Leibenath

    In recent years, landscapes in many countries have been transformed by efforts to fight global warming, specifically the shift towards renewable energies such as wind power. This development has been met by growing opposition from local citizens and their initiatives. There is an ongoing debate about whether and how such protests have a real impact on the development of energy landscapes. Drawing on the rare case of a state government scaling back ambitious targets for the expansion of renewables, the authors were able to analyse the impact of protests in the context of regional spatial planning and, particularly, state policy-making on energy. Conceptually drawing on the Advocacy Coalition Framework and using the method of causal-process tracing, the qualitative study investigates related interactions and decision-making processes in the federal state of Saxony, Germany, between 2011—when targets were increased—and 2013—when targets were scaled back. The findings show that the protests grew significantly when the raised expansion targets for renewables were translated into a higher number of potential wind farm sites. The protests, which primarily referred to landscapes, were well-organised and creative. Activists worked through a range of channels across various contexts and several levels of the politico-administrative system, in particular approaching regional spatial planners and a wide range of politicians. In the end, the protests (along with other factors) significantly contributed to the readjustment by the Saxon coalition government of its energy and climate policy and thus to a slowdown of energy-related landscape change. The study confirms that the influence of protesters can greatly exceed the previously studied participation in the planning of sites and the approval process for individual wind farms. Also highlighting other relevant co-influential factors, the paper contributes to the development of a middle-range theory of the impact of local opposition to wind power in the context of energy landscapes.

  • Thermodynamic and ecological preselection of synthetic fuel intermediates from biogas at farm sites
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2020-01-22
    Ralf Peters; Maximilian Decker; Lea Eggemann; Steffen Schemme; Felix Schorn; Janos Lucian Breuer; Stefan Weiske; Joachim Pasel; Remzi Can Samsun; Detlef Stolten

    Synthetic fuels based on renewable hydrogen and CO2 are a currently highly discussed piece of the puzzle to defossilize the transport sector. In this regard, CO2 can play a positive role in shaping a sustainable future. Large potentials are available as a product of biogas production, however occurring in small scales and in thin spatial distributions. This work aims to evaluate suitable synthetic fuel products to be produced at farm sites. A thermodynamic analysis to assess the energetic efficiency of synthesis pathways and a qualitative assessment of product handling issues is carried out. Regarding the technical and safety-related advantages in storage, liquid products are the superior option for fuel production at decentralized sites. Due to the economy of scale, multi-stage synthesis processes lose economic performance with rising complexity. A method was shown which covers a principle sketch of all necessary reaction, separation steps, and all compression and heat exchanger units. The figures showed that methanol and butanol are the most suitable candidates in contrast to OME3-5 for implementation in existing transportation and fuel systems. These results were underpin by a Gibbs energy analysis. As long as safety regulations are met and the farm can guarantee safe storage and transport, farm-site production for all intermediates can be realized technically. Ultimately, this work points out that the process must be kept as simple as possible, favoring methanol production at farm site and its further processing to more complicated fuels in large units for several fuel pathways.

  • Governance of sustainability in the German biogas sector—adaptive management of the Renewable Energy Act between agriculture and the energy sector
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2020-01-10
    Daniela Thrän; Kay Schaubach; Stefan Majer; Thomas Horschig

    Biomass is an integral part of the energy system being not only used in the chemical industry, but also as a basic raw material for the bio-economy sector, which is promoted worldwide. However, its potential can only be exploited sustainably if biomass is cultivated and governed appropriately. Consequently, governance systems are needed to ensure sustainability throughout the bioenergy value chain to maximise the benefits and minimise possible negative impacts. This study investigates how sustainability is put into effect in the German biogas market, the largest biogas market worldwide. The development of Germany’s biogas market is described according to the structure of a four-phase market model of Heuss: the introduction, expansion, maturing, and stagnation phase. Within each of these market phases, the most important German legislation for development of the biogas market was analysed, namely the Renewable Energy Act and legislation addressing associated sustainability issues. The development of the biogas market was controlled and steered by the adaptive Renewable Energy Act, particularly by incentivising cultivation of energy crops. Efforts to promote sustainability started during the transition from market expansion to market consolidation. The effects of these efforts on greenhouse gas emission reductions have been monitored and reported for more than 15 years, but assessment of other aspects of sustainability has varied. In general, legislation regulating the agriculture sector was changed to address new sustainability concerns with some delay. Sustainable development of the agricultural biogas market requires elements of governance, including adaptive legislation within the energy sector as well as monitoring and regular reporting of environmental impacts and related developments in areas of the agriculture sector, such as meat production. Rapid growth of capacity in the biogas sector combined with a significant increase in meat production, dependent on increased fodder production, created risks to sustainability. It can be concluded that the sustainable development of biogas requires additional instruments, possibly national regulation, in addition to legislation applied to the broader agricultural sector.

  • Renewable energy for sustainable development in India: current status, future prospects, challenges, employment, and investment opportunities
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2020-01-07
    Charles Rajesh Kumar. J; M. A. Majid

    The primary objective for deploying renewable energy in India is to advance economic development, improve energy security, improve access to energy, and mitigate climate change. Sustainable development is possible by use of sustainable energy and by ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for citizens. Strong government support and the increasingly opportune economic situation have pushed India to be one of the top leaders in the world’s most attractive renewable energy markets. The government has designed policies, programs, and a liberal environment to attract foreign investments to ramp up the country in the renewable energy market at a rapid rate. It is anticipated that the renewable energy sector can create a large number of domestic jobs over the following years. This paper aims to present significant achievements, prospects, projections, generation of electricity, as well as challenges and investment and employment opportunities due to the development of renewable energy in India. In this review, we have identified the various obstacles faced by the renewable sector. The recommendations based on the review outcomes will provide useful information for policymakers, innovators, project developers, investors, industries, associated stakeholders and departments, researchers, and scientists.

  • Determinants of biogas technology adoption in southern Ethiopia
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2020-01-06
    Lemma Shallo; Mitiku Ayele; Getachew Sime

    Renewable energies such as biogas are considered as clean sources of energy that minimize environmental impacts and are sustainable with regard to current and future economic and social needs. Biogas offers an attractive option for replacing the unsustainable usage of traditional energy sources such as firewood, cow dung, and charcoal in developing countries. In Ethiopia, these energy sources have been in decline. To address these challenges, mainly in rural areas, biogas technology has been domesticated since 2009, as seen in the National Program. The purpose of this study is thus to examine factors that influence households' decisions of adopting biogas technology in rural areas in southern Ethiopia. A sample of 268 households with 134 biogas adopters and 134 non-adopters were surveyed using simple random and purposive sampling techniques, respectively. The data were collected through individual interviews of households using a semistructured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and a binary logistic regression model were used for the data analysis. The binary logistic regression model was applied to identify determinant factors affecting the adoption of biogas technology. The results of the study indicated that biogas adopter and non-adopter households had significant mean differences in education level, cattle size, household income, farmland size, number of planted trees as well as the distance to water sources, market places, and firewood sources. Level of education, level of income, access to credit, distance to firewood sources, and access to electronic media had a significantly positive influence on the adoption of biogas technology. Conversely, distance to water sources and access to electricity had a significantly negative influence on the adoption of biogas technology. Biogas technology mostly appears in privileged households having a better socioeconomic status and other resource endowments. The beneficiaries are thus households that can afford the higher initial investment costs for bio-digester installation, maintenance services and purchasing bio-digester spare parts; as well as households that have access to credit facilities, water sources for adequate water supply, markets for purchasing spare parts and electronic media for information, and also households residing far away from firewood sources.

  • Towards a sustainable distributed energy system in China: decision-making for strategies and policy implications
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-12-23
    Ruojue Lin; Yue Liu; Yi Man; Jingzheng Ren

    The conflict between the Chinese fossil fuel-based economy and worsening environmental conditions requires further research to be carried out. Due to their clean, highly-efficient and flexible properties, distributed energy systems (DESs) have become a global research focus in the field of energy conservation. China, as the largest coal-fired energy user and highest power consumer in the world, has to conduct further research and apply the DESs to resolve the conflict. This study aims to provide a comprehensive review of DES development in China as well as improvement suggestions for the development of DESs by use of scientific analysis. The analysis of strengths-weaknesses-opportunities threats (SWOT) was adapted for the analysis of improvement strategies. The directions for how to improve the application of these strategies were selected by the prioritization method of analytic hierarchy processes (AHP) and evaluated by the best-worst method (BWM). The suggestions were provided according to the ranks figured out by AHP and BWM. Five enablers were selected from the respective economic, environmental, technological and social aspects for participating in this analysis. Resulting from the SWOT analysis, capital investment, technology development and regulation completeness are three aspects of strategies summarized as SO strategies, ST strategies, WO strategies and WT strategies. The research perspectives of DESs that are suggested for investment, technology development and regulation completeness are illustrated by AHP and BWM. The results show that the reduction of solid particle emissions, the improvement of generation reliability, the improvement of the production rate, the reduction of production costs, the improvement of on-site safety, the fulfilment of electricity demand, the reduction of noxious gas emissions as well as the improvement of energy efficiency need to be carried out for the sake of environmental protection and quality of DES generation in China. There are high potentials for China to further develop and apply DES approaches. The direction of current development might be set to solve three problematic aspects, which are capital investment, technology development and regulation completeness.

  • A coupled technological-sociological model for national electrical energy supply systems including sustainability
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-12-23
    Manfred Benthaus

    Global trends in the development and use of electricity utilities and assets are practically irreversible. In industrialized nations, capacity factors have grown so large that users may expect freely available electrical potential energy at all times and in almost all locations. Economically capitalizing on this trend means maximizing energy provision and use to boost gross domestic product growth rates. Electricity is now a basic indicator of social development; it is to the cultural-technological dimension what breathing air is to the physiological-biological dimension, the implication being that sustainable development of provision systems has become a matter of international concern. This article presents a decision basis for the design of sustainable national electrical energy supply systems, incorporating country-specific boundary conditions in the form of user requirements to be specified by users. The basis is a solution space of technologically possible systems, obtained by combining generalized user requirements and physical limitations to generate the solution states. As all technological options for the system are brought under consideration, this approach represents a comprehensive comparative analysis. The decision process ensues by assigning to each solution state a set of (newly defined) system risk factors. Particular consideration is given to evaluating the system’s ability to meet the user requirements, i.e., interruption-free provision. The central benchmark is the technological-economic availability. From this is obtained a sustainability boundary, the boundary between quantifiable and unquantifiable economic loss potentials. This article deliberately avoids referencing specific technological solutions, with the justification that the basis of the user’s decision should be independent of technological considerations. The sole exception is a reference to the currently used technology, which forms the starting point.

  • Reflecting trends in the academic landscape of sustainable energy using probabilistic topic modeling
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-12-20
    Manuel W. Bickel

    Facing planetary boundaries, we need a sustainable energy system providing its life support function for society in the long-term within environmental limits. Since science plays an important role in decision-making, this study examines the thematic landscape of research on sustainable energy, which may contribute to a sustainability transformation. Understanding the structure of the research field allows for critical reflections and the identification of blind spots for advancing this field. The study applies a text mining approach on 26533 Scopus-indexed abstracts published from 1990 to 2016 based on a latent Dirichlet allocation topic model. Models with up 1100 topics were created. Based on coherence scores and manual inspection, the model with 300 topics was selected. These statistical methods served for highlighting timely topic trends, differing thematic fields, and emerging communities in the topic network. The study critically reflects the quantitative results from a sustainability perspective. The study identifies a focus on establishing and optimizing the energy infrastructure towards 100% renewable energies through key modern technology areas: materials science, (biological) process engineering, and (digital) monitoring and control systems. Energy storage, photonic materials, nanomaterials, or biofuels belong to the topics with the strongest trends. The study identifies decreasing trends for general aspects regarding sustainable development and related economic, environmental, and political issues. The discourse is latently adopting a technology-oriented paradigm focusing on renewable energy generation and is moving away from the multi-faceted concept of sustainability. The field has the potential to contribute to climate change mitigation by optimizing renewable energy systems. However, given the complexity of these systems, horizontal integration of the various valuable vertical research strands is required. Furthermore, the holistic ecological perspective considering the global scale that has originally motivated research on sustainable energy might be re-strengthened, e.g., by an integrated energy and materials perspective. Beyond considering the physical dimensions of energy systems, existing links from the currently technology-oriented discourse to the social sciences might be strengthened. For establishing sustainable energy systems, future research will not only have to target the technical energy infrastructure but put a stronger focus on issues perceivable from a holistic second-order perspective.

  • Charting global position and vision of stakeholders towards sustainable bioenergy
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-12-19
    T. Mai-Moulin; U. R. Fritsche; M. Junginger

    Stakeholder’s position of bioenergy sustainability is important for the deployment and contribution of bioenergy to sustainable development. Existing publications are usually limited to specific geographical contexts and focuses. This paper aims more broadly to examine the position and vision of a wider range of stakeholder groups towards bioenergy and its development at a global level. The applied methodology includes six steps: (1) identification of stakeholders as belonging to one of seven groups; (2) describing the role of each group in relation to bioenergy; (3) data collection via an online questionnaire, roundtable dialogues and interviews to examine their stated awareness and opinions of bioenergy development, driver and barriers to such development; (4) data analysis; (5) comparison of interests and influence as a basis for expressing position and vision; and (6) recommendations for gaining support for sustainable bioenergy development. The stakeholders state awareness of bioenergy development and have in general a positive view of the sector. They also inform that the general public is less aware of and not sufficiently involved in bioenergy development. Internet and social media are the most consulted sources of information but least trusted, while scientific information is most trusted but least used. Agricultural residues, energy crops cultivated on marginal or degraded land and forestry residues are widely accepted as feedstocks for bioenergy production, whereas use of agricultural land is viewed critically. The stakeholders generally support bioenergy development when jointly agreed sustainability requirements are met. The stakeholders acknowledge the important role of effectively disseminating scientific information as an influencing factor on the position towards bioenergy. They also find that enhancing support for the bioenergy sector relies on mandatory sustainability requirements covering social, economic and environmental aspects, applied to all types of biomass regardless of end use. Some also emphasise that all relevant sectors should work on market conditions to create a level playing field and that this is crucial to change stakeholders’ position to gain more social acceptance of bioenergy. Transparency in demonstrating compliance with sustainability criteria is also an expected pre-condition to enhance support for bioenergy (and ultimately the bioeconomy) in the long term.

  • Understanding the role of values in institutional change: the case of the energy transition
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-12-18
    Christine Milchram; Carolin Märker; Holger Schlör; Rolf Künneke; Geerten van de Kaa

    The current transition towards low-carbon energy systems does not only involve changes in technologies but is also shaped by changes in the rules and regulations (i.e., the institutions) that govern energy systems. Institutional change can be influenced by changes in core values—normative principles such as affordability, security of supply, and sustainability. Analyzing this influence, however, has been hindered by the absence of a structured framework that highlights the role of values in institutional change processes. This paper presents an interdisciplinary framework explicating how values influence institutional change in the case of the energy transition. We build on a dynamic framework for institutional change that combines the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework with the concept of social learning. This basic analytical framework is expanded by conceptualizations of values in moral philosophy, institutional economics, and social psychology. Our framework offers researchers and policy makers an analytical tool to identify how values are embedded in infrastructure and existing regulation and how values shape communities and behavior. It explains how value controversies can trigger social learning processes that eventually can result in structural change. Thus, this framework allows analyzing institutional change over time as well as comparing change patterns across spatial and temporal contexts.

  • Nature conservation as a driver in wind energy scenarios
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-12-18
    Philip Gauglitz; Sven Schicketanz; Carsten Pape

    Germany has set ambitious goals for the reduction of greenhouse gases. The decarbonisation of the energy system has been in focus. An important means to achieve this is the increased utilisation of wind energy. The growth of wind power entails changes not only in the electrical system but also in the landscape and environment. Prospectively, scenarios will have to consider a wide range of aspects, not only economics and technology but also nature conservation and social affairs. The authors are participating in the research study “Szenarien für den Ausbau der erneuerbaren Energien aus Naturschutzsicht”, funded by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, which examines the possibilities of integrating nature conservation into the development of scenarios. For aspects of nature conservation to be taken into account in scenario development, a multi-stage methodology has been developed to assess the conflict risk of wind energy and nature conservation throughout Germany. To ensure comparability of the scenarios, all of them are based on the same general framework consisting of fixed excluded areas, the same method of detail allocation and the same overall expected energy output. The “nature conservation” driver is integrated in the form of a nationwide comparative assessment of risk levels. The mapping of spatially differentiated risk levels for wind energy has been achieved in a GIS-based and discursive process. The results show that nature conservation can be addressed properly in scenario-building. Here, the method of multi-criterion scenario-building itself, with its focus on including nature conservation as one of several drivers determining the spatial distribution of wind turbines, is a major result. The authors have developed specific scenarios that mainly address questions of landscape and nature conservation. Out of the four generic scenarios presented for the year 2035, two have nature conservation as their main driver, whereas the other two consider energy-economic drivers only. Examining these scenarios provides insight into the influence of each driver. For example, adding nature conservation as the main driver (highest priority) reduces the specific conflict risk by 26.1%, while at the same time only a relatively small increase in wind turbines is required (+12.5% in numbers, +2.3% in installed power capacity). The methods developed here provide a driver for allocating wind power plants to reduce conflicts in high-risk areas. Furthermore, using the same spatial distribution of risk levels makes it possible to subsequently rate the scenarios from a conservation perspective. The method developed here provides the means to analyse trade-offs between relevant drivers. The “nature conservation” scenarios show a relatively small additional demand for wind turbines but a greater amount of avoided conflict risk.

  • Observation-based estimates of land availability for wind power: a case study for Czechia
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-12-17
    Felix Nitsch; Olga Turkovska; Johannes Schmidt

    The availability of land for the installation of wind power turbines is restricted by numerous factors. Besides climatic conditions, the deployment of wind energy is limited by technical, social, economic, and environmental factors. Typically, assessments of land availability for wind power use legal and technical criteria to estimate the potential for wind power expansion. In contrast, we use observed characteristics of wind power generation sites existing in Austria and Denmark to estimate its potential expansion in Czechia. We combined data on wind turbine locations with data on land use, wind speeds, human impact on land, and nature conservation areas. Our analysis shows that the density of wind power in Austria is variable, but higher on average (4.79 MW km−2) than in Denmark (1.76 MW km−2). Austrian wind turbines have been installed in areas where the human impact on land is mostly higher than the Austrian average, while in Denmark, no difference is observed. Regarding the land use composite, the share of agricultural land on sites with wind turbines is on average much higher (86%), while the share of forest is much lower (7%) in both countries. We identified a maximum potential area in Czechia of 543 km2 with Austrian and 421 km2 with Danish characteristics. When conservatively assuming observed historical power densities, this area translates to 2295 MW and 741 MW of installed wind power capacity, respectively. These results are a magnitude of order lower than the potentials found in existing studies. In a sensitivity analysis, we have examined that the availability of potential sites depends mainly on the population density, the human impact on land, prevailing wind speeds, and the height above sea level. We estimated available land area for potential wind turbine installations in Czechia using our newly developed methodology based on observed site characteristics of today’s wind power infrastructure in Austria and Denmark. Available land area indicated possible overestimation of wind power capacities proposed in the recent studies on the renewable energy transition. Hence, more rigorous consideration of land availability is required for assessments of potential wind power expansion.

  • Optimisation of photovoltaic and battery systems from the prosumer-oriented total cost of ownership perspective
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-12-13
    Kai Kappner; Peter Letmathe; Philipp Weidinger

    In the context of the German energy transition, the number of domestic households covering part of their electricity consumption from their own photovoltaic system is constantly increasing. Some even use battery storage systems to store excess power for later use, which increases the degree of self-sufficiency and, according to the providers of such systems, should yield financial advantages for the so-called prosumer. We used the Prosumer-Oriented Total Cost of Ownership method to analyse the financial possibilities for prosumers under German market conditions, and thus determined the economically optimal solution for different domestic household sizes. In order to obtain realistic results, we applied real data covering the weather (relevant for the generation of electricity), consumption patterns, investment and operating costs, prices and revenues. If behavioural aspects are set aside and pre-requirements (e.g. sufficient roof space) are met, our model provides guidance for investors and policy-makers alike. Our research shows that it is financially advantageous for all household sizes to operate the largest photovoltaic system possible for them (up to 10 kWp). By contrast, our results show that the investment in a battery storage system does not pay off even when government subsidies are taken into account. Regardless of the size of the selected battery storage system and all other influencing variables, the financial advantages of such a system do not materialise, although a battery storage system does substantially increase the self-sufficiency rate.

  • Integrating policy, market, and technology for sustainability governance of agriculture-based biofuel and bioeconomic development in the US
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-12-12
    Jianbang Gan; Inge Stupak; C. T. Smith

    The scaled-up production of biofuels and bioproducts in the US is likely to cause land use expansion and intensification domestically and internationally, possibly leading to undesirable environmental and socioeconomic consequences. Although these concerns have been widely recognized, sustainability governance systems are yet to be developed. Here, we review (1) the US bioenergy policies, (2) biofuel production and market trends, (3) major sustainability concerns, and (4) existing regulations and programs for sustainability governance, including potential interactions with markets and technology. US bioenergy policy dates back to the 1970s and has evolved over time with various tax incentives plus production mandates in recent key legislation. Commercial production of cellulosic biofuels is impeded largely by technology and cost barriers. Uncertainties exist in the estimates of environmental and socioeconomic impacts due to the lack of empirical data and knowledge of complex relationships among biofuel and bioeconomic development, natural ecosystems, and socioeconomic dimensions. There are various existing sustainability governance mechanisms on which a biofuel sustainability governance system can be built on. Considering all these, we propose an adaptive system that incorporates regulations, certification, social norms, market, and technology for sustainability monitoring and governance, and is able to contribute to addressing the overall environmental concerns associated with collective land use for food, fiber, and fuel production. Building on existing programs and mechanisms and with proper monitoring of biofuel and bioproduct development, such a governing system can be developed and implemented in response to sustainability concerns that may arise as biofuel and bioproduct production increases.

  • Analyzing long-term empirical interactions between renewable energy generation, energy use, human capital, and economic performance in Pakistan
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-12-11
    Nousheen Fatima; Yanbin Li; Munir Ahmad; Gul Jabeen; Xiaoyu Li

    The current research attempts to systematically investigate the causal interactions between renewable energy generation, aggregated energy use, human capital, and economic performance in Pakistan both in a short-term and long-term test for the period of 1990–2016. As a primary step, a unit root analysis was conducted employing, among others, an augmented Dickey-Fuller-generalized least squares (ADF-GLS) test. Based on the order of integration I(1), the Johansen and Juselius (JJ) co-integration testing was employed to confirm a long-term causality analysis, which was followed by a vector error correction model (VECM) to calculate the short-run Granger causality analysis. Furthermore, the vector autoregressive (VAR)-based Cholesky test allowed the standard deviation impulse response functions to be generated to explain the responses of variables to arbitrary shocks in the data series under analysis. The empirical findings unearthed the bilateral causal connection between aggregated energy use and economic performance, renewable energy generation and economic performance, and human capital and economic performance. Thus, it confirmed the existence of feedback effects for aggregated energy use, renewable energy generation, and human capital in their relation to economic performance. Likewise, a unilateral positive causal connection was revealed running from renewable energy generation and human capital to aggregated energy use, and from human capital to renewable energy generation in both a long-term and short-term test. Additionally, the causal association running from aggregated energy use and renewable energy generation to economic performance was exposed in a long-term as well as short-term test, hence supporting the growth hypothesis. The findings signified the importance of an enhanced generation of renewable energy along with the promotion of an aggregated energy use for the economic performance in Pakistan.

  • Spatiotemporal modelling for integrated spatial and energy planning
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2018-10-16
    Luis Ramirez Camargo; Gernot Stoeglehner

    The transformation of the energy system to a renewable one is crucial to enable sustainable development for mankind. The integration of high shares of renewable energy sources (RES) in the energy matrix is, however, a major challenge due to the low energy density per area unit and the stochastic temporal patterns in which RES are available. Distributed generation for energy supply becomes necessary to overcome this challenge, but it sets new pressures on the use of space. To optimize the use of space, spatial planning and energy planning have to be integrated, and suitable tools to support this integrated planning process are fundamental. Spatiotemporal modelling of RES is an emerging research field that aims at supporting and improving the planning process of energy systems with high shares of RES. This paper contributes to this field by reviewing latest developments and proposing models and tools for planning distributed energy systems for municipalities. The models provide estimations of the potentials of fluctuating RES technologies and energy demand in high spatiotemporal resolutions, and the planning tools serve to configure energy systems of multiple technologies that are customized for the local energy demand. Case studies that test the spatiotemporal models and their transferability were evaluated to determine the advantages of using these instead of merely spatial models for planning municipality-wide RES-based energy systems. Spatiotemporal models allow a more detailed estimation of RES potentials and serve to find not only optimal locations but also optimal sizes for individual RES plants. While the potential of variable RES based on yearly energy generation values can be considerably larger than the energy demand, only a fraction of it can be deployed without compromising the quality and reliability of the local energy supply system. Furthermore, when spatiotemporal models are used, it can be seen that technological diversity is beneficial for the supply quality. Similarly, the advantages and limits of the deployment of storage systems and of combinations of RES-based technologies to cover the local demand were determined and evaluated. Finally, the results from the analyses provide sufficient information to define road maps of installations deployment to achieve desired RES penetration objectives.

  • Protected areas as strategies for preserving vegetation cover in the vicinity of hydroelectric projects in the Brazilian Amazon
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2018-10-30
    Orleno Marques da Silva Junior; Marco Aurélio dos Santos; Claudio Fabian Szlafsztein; Jose Manoel Antelo Gomez; Juliana Pinto Pereira

    There are several studies associating the construction of power plants to the increase in deforestation rates. However, there are no case studies analyzing deforestation near power plants, seeking to find a logic of how such deforestation occurs and attributing a statistical correlation with some factors that may mitigate or potentiate such deforestation. This study fills this gap on the scientific literature. Although it analyzes four cases, it is relevant given the lack of publications on this topic. In this study, a comparative analysis of deforestation was conducted in the vicinity of four hydroelectric plant projects in the Amazon forest, aiming particularly to identify measures related to the creation of areas of restricted use, protected areas, and indigenous lands, as a way to minimize the predatory occupation around reservoirs. The results showed that there is a strong negative correlation between the extension of indigenous lands and protected areas and deforestation in the vicinity of the power plants analyzed, even when they are located in areas with a high level of human occupation. This study also revealed, by Pearson correlation analyses, that there are few pairs of variables whose correlations are weak or very weak. There are predominantly moderate, strong, and very strong correlations. Thus, it is suggested that new hydroelectric plant projects in the Amazon should prioritize the creation of areas of restricted use and discourage occupation through settlements and opening of roads, as these variables were determinant for the level of degradation to the environment around the construction works analyzed.

  • A review of material development in the field of carbon capture and the application of membrane-based processes in power plants and energy-intensive industries
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2018-11-01
    Xuezhong He

    This review highlights recent developments and future perspectives on CO2 capture from power plants and energy-intensive industries to reduce CO2 emissions. Different types of membrane materials for CO2 capture were reviewed in terms of material performance, energy efficiency, and cost. With regard to gas separation membrane technology, only three types of membranes have been demonstrated at pilot scale. Therefore, this work paid particular attention to recent development of membrane materials such as fixed-site-carrier membranes and ultrathin nanocomposite membranes. The required high-performance membranes with CO2 permeance of 3 m3(STP)/(m2 h bar) and high CO2/N2 selectivity (> 40) were identified as the future direction of material development. Moreover, novel energy-efficient process development for CO2 capture in power plant and process industry are discussed; the MTR patented air sweeping process is considered one of the most energy-efficient processes for post-combustion CO2 capture. In the last part, CO2/CH4 selectivity of > 30 was pointed out to be the requirement of energy-efficient membrane system for CO2 removal from natural gas and biogas. Finally, significant improvements on membrane material performance, module, and process efficiency are still needed for membrane technology to be competitive in CO2 capture.

  • Grid-based multi-energy systems—modelling, assessment, open source modelling frameworks and challenges
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2018-11-13
    Lukas Kriechbaum; Gerhild Scheiber; Thomas Kienberger

    The transition to a sustainable future challenges the current energy grids with the integration of variable, distributed renewable energy sources. On a technical level, multi-energy systems may provide the necessary flexibility to minimise the gap between demand and supply. Suitable methods and tools are necessary to derive relevant results and to support a transition to renewable energy sources. While several, dedicated tools to model grids and infrastructure of single-energy carriers exist, there are no tools capable of modelling multi-energy systems in detail. Thus, this paper presents the necessary aspects to consider when modelling grid-based multi-energy systems, presents three open source frameworks for modelling grid-based energy systems and points out the major challenges. The current main aspects and challenges for modelling grid-based energy systems are derived from a literature review. Three open source multi-energy modelling frameworks (Calliope, oemof, urbs) are presented, and the extent to which they consider these aspects and how they tackle challenges is analysed. We identified five general energy system modelling aspects (modelling scope, model formulation, spatial coverage, time horizon, data) and three aspects specific to modelling energy grids (level of detail, spatial resolution, temporal resolution). While the specific aspects mainly influence the representation of the technical parts of the energy system and the computational effort, the general aspects primarily relate to the system boundaries and scope of the model. For the evaluation of the modelling results, we identified several assessment criteria, including economic, energetic, exergetic and reliability. Each of the studied open source modelling frameworks provides generic capabilities to model energy converters, and the electricity, gas and district heat networks. However, the general and specific aspects present respective challenges. Relating to the general aspects, complexity of model formulation increases when including additional boundary conditions. The accuracy of the results is also dependent on data quality. Temporal and spatial resolutions are the major specific challenges for modelling the energy infrastructure. There is still a broad field of opportunities for researchers to contribute to grid-based energy system modelling. This encompasses especially the consideration of short- and long-term dynamics of renewable energy sources in planning models.

  • The myth and the reality of energy recovery from municipal solid waste
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2018-11-19
    S A Abbasi

    Any manner of development can be sustainable only if the waste generated by it is not allowed to accumulate but is fully reused/recycled/recovered. Among the strategies to attain this goal have been the attempts to recover energy from municipal solid waste (MSW). About 60% of MSW is carbonaceous, consisting of materials which can either be biodegraded into fuels like methane or incinerated, thereby generating utilizable energy. MSW also contains several components—like metallic scrap and glass pieces—which can be reused or recycled, thereby achieving energy conservation. Given these attributes, MSW appears to be a potential source of energy and resources. Indeed, this belief that MSW is usable if only we try sincerely enough to do so prompts most of us to keep generating much more MSW than is warranted. But how realizable really is the energy potential of MSW? What perils loom into view when we actually set out to utilize MSW as an energy source? The present study addresses these crucially important questions. The work is based on a critical content analysis of the prior art. The generation of MSW has consistently outpaced the world’s efforts to dispose of it cleanly, and the energy (and material) recovery from MSW is easier said than done. In most instances, what is technically feasible is economically unfeasible. And what is economically feasible—such as setting the waste on fire as is often done in developing countries—is exceedingly harmful to the environment and the human health. Measures such as sanitary landfilling and incineration create as many new problems as the old ones they solve. Moreover, despite the use of these less-than-adequate technologies, a major portion of MSW generated in the world lies untreated. As the MSW output is expected to double by 2025, this situation is only set to become worse. Rising tides of E-waste would compound the problem even further. Hence, enormous stress should be put on the reduction of MSW generation by controlling wanton consumerism and wastage, rather than continuing with it in the false hope that technology will soon provide a magical solution and eliminate the problem.

  • Towards marketing biomethane in France—French consumers’ perception of biomethane
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2018-11-28
    Carsten Herbes; Simon Chouvellon; Joachim Lacombe

    French energy policy calls for ambitious growth in the biogas sector, with the quantity of biomethane fed into the public grid targeted at 8 TWh per year by 2023. Although today biomethane in France serves predominantly as vehicle fuel, the domestic heating market, with its high share of gas heating, should see biogas growth in the future, provided consumer demand can develop and suppliers can emerge savvy enough to respond to that demand. Towards this end, we conducted qualitative interviews with some mixed-methods elements with French consumers in the South of France to explore their knowledge of and attitudes towards biogas as well as their preferences for specific product features of biomethane-based gas products. We found that today’s consumers have little knowledge of biogas production and feel uncertain and doubtful about products. They can name reasons, both environmental and financial, for and against biogas. They favor biomethane products from agricultural residues and biodegradable household waste, rejecting energy crops. In principle, they value local production by small suppliers, find ecolabels helpful, and look favorably upon extra environmental benefits accruing from the sale of biogas. However, consumers labor under misconceptions regarding the costs of biomethane production. Crafting communication strategies that address widespread consumer doubt and consumer perceived risk is the challenge suppliers face in order to allow consumers to make a well-based decision.

  • Trace element delivery for biogas production enhanced by alternative energy crops: results from two-year field trials
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2018-12-01
    Wiebke Fahlbusch; Katharina Hey; Benedikt Sauer; Hans Ruppert

    Energy crop production for biogas still relies mainly on maize, but the co-digestion of alternative energy crops (legumes, amaranth, ryegrass, flower mixtures) with maize can have several advantages. First, a greater biodiversity in the fields; second, an enrichment of essential trace elements in biogas substrates (cobalt, nickel, manganese, and molybdenum); and third, less use of artificial trace element additives. In two randomized field trials, 12 different variants of field crops in sole, double and intercropping were tested over a 2-year period. Dry matter yield, trace element content of the crops, and soil parameters like soil texture, pH, and soil element concentration were determined. The trace element concentrations in biogas plants resulting from input mixtures of energy crops (legumes, amaranth, faba bean, and ryegrass) and maize are calculated. High dry matter yields were obtained for ryegrass, maize, winter faba bean maize, intercropping winter faba bean/triticale-maize, and intercropping rye/vetch-maize. The double croppings with maize reached highest total yields (ca. 30 t DM ha−1). Total element deliveries from the harvest reveal large differences between the variants and the trace elements. Cobalt is provided most by summer faba bean maize and intercropping of winter faba bean/triticale-maize. Ryegrass can deliver the greatest amounts of Manganese and Molybdenum to biogas plants. When these energy crops are added to conventional maize input for biogas production, the trace element concentration in the fermenter can be raised significantly, e.g., 0.03 g Co t−1 FM can be attained compared to 0.003 g t−1 with maize silage input only. Sufficient Co can be provided by addition of manure to the input mixture. Alternative energy crops in combination with maize ensure a good dry matter yield per year and provide significantly more trace elements. However, these substrate mixtures alone do not provide enough trace elements, particularly Co. However, enough Co can be supplied by a small addition of manure.

  • Exploring governance for sustainability in contexts of violence: the case of the hydropower industry in Colombia
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2018-12-03
    Jorge-Andrés Polanco

    The hydropower industry in Colombia is developing in contexts of violence because of armed conflict. The companies that drive hydropower development are usually large and benefit today from lessons that have been learned around the world. However, there is little understanding of how these good management practices are addressed in contexts of violence. This paper contributes to the filling of a knowledge gap between the energy business practices and the local implications of the armed conflict. Large companies would have to incorporate a holistic view of the power generation business that connects financial performance with both environmental protection and social equity. The governance of business sustainability is analyzed within violence, drawing upon a case study from the hydropower industry to explore emergent issues, dominant players, and tools that may provide solutions. The case study method is based on the hermeneutical analysis of 16 in-depth interviews with employees from the energy sector, the public municipalities, and local leaders. The interviews were coded and occurrence rates were used as ranking criteria. Two co-occurrence matrices were constructed in order to estimate the ranking of the interests of the players and the tools of action they prefer. The results exhibited conventional problems such as climate change, dwindling biodiversity, and the deteriorating condition of natural resources, in addition to the characteristic difficulties of armed conflicts, such as illegality, distrustfulness, and lack of opportunity for local populations. In view of both the weakness of the state and the scarcity of social capital, energy companies emerge as a central player in association with nongovernmental organizations. The tools used are more geared toward planning than they are toward joint action and evaluation. It was concluded that the management of hydropower stations in the contexts of violence requires companies to orient their actions toward results and evaluate the impact of its management. Such management must be based on transformational relationships aimed at reducing the existing asymmetry between players and distributing the costs and benefits of the hydropower station more equitably.

  • An empirical analysis of rural and urban populations’ access to electricity: evidence from Pakistan
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2018-12-19
    Abdul Rehman; Zhang Deyuan; Abbas Ali Chandio; Imran Hussain

    This study explores the electricity access to rural and urban populations and its impact on the economic growth in Pakistan. An autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) bounds testing approach was applied, and a co-integration test was used to investigate the dynamic causality relationships between the study variables. By using this testing approach, this study filled the literature gap regarding the access of rural and urban population to electricity in Pakistan. The tests shed light on the long-run relationship among the variables, whereas the results revealed that the access of both rural and urban populations to electricity had a positive and significant effect on economic growth. According to these findings, we can conclude that Pakistan should pay further attention to increasing its electricity production from different sources, including not only hydroelectric, solar, wind, oil, gas, and biomass but also fewer and fewer nuclear sources, in order to fulfill the country’s demands on its way to a future of sustainable development.

  • Intercomparison between Switch 2.0 and GE MAPS models for simulation of high-renewable power systems in Hawaii
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2018-12-27
    Matthias Fripp

    New open-source electric-grid planning models have the potential to improve power system planning and bring a wider range of stakeholders into the planning process for next-generation, high-renewable power systems. However, it has not yet been established whether open-source models perform similarly to the more established commercial models for power system analysis. This reduces their credibility and attractiveness to stakeholders, postponing the benefits they could offer. In this paper, we report the first model intercomparison between an open-source power system model and an established commercial production cost model. We compare the open-source Switch 2.0 to GE Energy Consulting’s Multi-Area Production Simulation (MAPS) for production-cost modeling, considering hourly operation under 17 scenarios of renewable energy adoption in Hawaii. We find that after configuring Switch with similar inputs to MAPS, the two models agree closely on hourly and annual production from all power sources. Comparing production gave a coefficient of determination of 0.996 across all energy sources and scenarios, indicating that the two models agree on 99.6% of the variation. For individual energy sources, the coefficient of determination was 69–100. Although some disagreement remains between the two models, this work indicates that Switch is a viable choice for renewable integration modeling, at least for the small power systems considered here.

  • Morocco’s sustainable energy transition and the role of financing costs: a participatory electricity system modeling approach
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-01-14
    Thomas Schinko; Sönke Bohm; Nadejda Komendantova; El Mostafa Jamea; Marina Blohm

    Morocco is facing major challenges in terms of its future energy supply and demand. Specifically, the country is confronted with rising electricity demand, which in turn will lead to higher fossil fuel import dependency and carbon emissions. Recognizing these challenges, Morocco has set ambitious targets for the deployment of renewable energy sources for electricity generation (RES-E). The realization of these targets will lead to a fundamental transition of the Moroccan electricity sector and requires substantial public and private investment. However, different risks constitute barriers for private RES-E investments and lead to high financing costs, which may eventually discourage capital-intensive RES-E projects. While the existing literature has mainly focused on assessing the impact of financing costs on the economic competitiveness of individual technologies, the aim of this research is to assess the techno-economic feasibility of different electricity generation portfolios. To recognize the social dimension of the sustainable energy system transition, the electricity scenarios for Morocco have been jointly developed with stakeholders in a scenario building workshop in Rabat, employing a downscaled version of the open source electricity market model renpassG!S, augmented by a weighted average cost of capital (WACC) module. In the stakeholder workshop, four different electricity scenarios for Morocco were co-developed. Each of these scenarios describes a consensual and technologically feasible future development path for the Moroccan energy system up to 2050, and comprises conventional fossil fuel-based technologies, as well as RES-E technologies in varying shares. Employing the downscaled renpassG!S model, we find that total system costs, as well as average levelized costs of electricity (LCOE) can be reduced substantially with low-cost financing. Our results indicate that de-risking RES-E investments can lead to cost competitiveness of a 100% RES-E-based electricity system with mixed-technology scenarios at marked financing costs. Therefore, we identify specific de-risking recommendations for Moroccan energy policymaking. In addition, we argue that participatory scenario modeling enables a better understanding of the risk perceptions of stakeholders, and can eventually contribute to increasing the political feasibility of sustainable energy transition pathways.

  • Sustainability of community-owned mini-grids: evidence from India
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-01-21
    Aparna Katre; Arianna Tozzi; Subhes Bhattacharyya

    Community-owned solar mini-grids (SMGs) are increasingly promoted to provide communities access to reliable electricity, empowering local actors as they become active stakeholders in projects. However, early failures and difficulties in building local capacity have raised questions regarding their long-term sustainability and ability to be replicated to provide socio-economic benefits to the communities. This study assesses the sustainability of 24 community-owned SMGs in India operating over extensive periods of time using a novel scoring framework using mixed methods to derive its conclusions. The study found that institutional, financial, and technical capacities, central for the SMG’s long-term sustainability, could be achieved through community engagement from early stages, if communities are allowed freedom to develop governance procedures while at the same time clarifying roles and responsibilities. This creates strong sense of ownership that is key for effective and inclusive governance. User satisfaction, ensured through provision of usable supply in line with users’ expectations, motivates actors to make regular payments, thus leading to economic sustenance. While social and environmental benefits were observed, energy consumption and engagement in productive activities remained marginal. The study reports an example of community-owned SMG model that has been replicated sustainably over many cases, overcoming key challenges related to appropriate financial and technical management and producing positive social impact. Low engagement in productive activities was more a factor of the local socio-cultural contexts, rather than limited paying capacities of the users. To increase energy utilization and create environments for sustainable rural living, the study recommends implementation of systems that link energy with other rural development needs such as agriculture or water provision. The study also recommends more use of qualitative and quantitative data for impact analysis to ensure that conclusions are generalizable and provide rich contextual explanations for the observed phenomena.

  • 更新日期:2019-11-28
  • Review of the United States energy system in transition
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-01-25
    Peter D. Saundry

    This review article provides a synthesis of the most significant transitions taking place in the energy systems of the USA in 2018. These include the leveling off of the total consumption of primary energy and electricity, a shift away from coal-fired electricity generation, advances in the efficiency energy conversions and end-uses, as well as the onshoring and offshoring of some energy applications. Transitions are considered with a long-term, sociotechnological perspective using data from the past 60 years, recognizing the impacts technological developments, economics, public policy, cultural preferences, and concerns about environmental impacts such as climate change. Different transitions are in different phases of development with different scales of impact, with some likely to only become significant over the next few decades.

  • Deconstructing networks, unearthing consensus: Diffusion of “cleaner” cookstoves in rural Himalayas of India
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-02-12
    Arundhati Jagadish; Puneet Dwivedi

    Both social structures and people’s beliefs affect the diffusion of innovations, but few studies have been able to understand how these dual influences operate simultaneously. Understanding this simultaneity is important because sustainable practices are influenced by the processes of social learning which build on individual interactions to become embedded in communities of practice. We combined social network and cultural consensus analyses to understand the diffusion of information on “cleaner” cookstoves in eight villages located within a micro-watershed of Kullu District in Himachal Pradesh, India. First, using social network analysis, we identified networks of information flow for three “cleaner” cookstoves: liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cookstoves, induction cookstoves, and Himanshu tandoors. Second, we identified key players in the cookstove information networks. Third, using cultural consensus method, we determined and compared the beliefs of the key and non-key players, as identified from the information networks. We found that information networks for selected cookstoves varied in structural measures of density and centrality. We also found that a local non-profit played a lead role in spreading information about selected “cleaner” cookstoves. There was a consensus among both key and non-key player groups regarding beliefs about selected cookstoves; however, non-key players had a higher agreement among themselves and fewer overlapping beliefs than key players. We also found that key players were not always users of the technology itself. This implies that key players, unlike opinion leaders, were not necessarily proponents of selected cookstoves but were able to spread information about them because of their position within the networks. We identified the mismatches in beliefs regarding “cleaner” cookstoves within a community. These mismatches reveal the differences in what people know and what they share through interactions within social networks, suggesting that communities of practice have yet to form. Because the formation of communities of practice has implications for how the adoption of sustainable technologies becomes routinized, we stress the need for more socio-cultural perspectives in diffusion studies.

  • Exploring the potential for biomethane production by willow pyrolysis using life cycle assessment methodology
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-02-22
    Elham Ahmadi Moghaddam; Niclas Ericsson; Per-Anders Hansson; Åke Nordberg

    Biomethane, as a potential substitute for natural gas, reduces the use of fossil-based sources, promoting bioenergy applications. Biomethane for energy use can be produced using a variety of biomass types and technologies. Biomethane from farmland crops is currently produced by anaerobic digestion (AD) of energy crops, which is a biological treatment of organic material resulting in biomethane and digestate. Recently, thermochemical conversion technologies of biomass to biomethane have gained attention. Pyrolysis is a thermochemical process whereby woody biomass is converted to fuel gas and biochar. This study assessed the land use efficiency of producing biomethane through a maize-based AD system compared with switching to a willow-based biomethane system using pyrolysis as an emerging technology. The energy performance and climate impact of the two pathways were assessed from a land use perspective, using life cycle assessment methodology. The entire technical system, from biomass production to delivery of biomethane as the end product, was included within the analysis. The study also investigated how the climate impact was affected when biochar was applied to soil to act as a soil amendment and carbon sequestration agent or when biochar was used as an energy source. Pyrolysis of willow had a higher external energy ratio and climate mitigation effect than maize-based AD as a result of lower primary energy inputs and lower methane loss in the pyrolysis process and upgrading units. Furthermore, the biochar from willow pyrolysis, when used as a soil amendment or energy source, contributed significantly to the climate impact mitigation potential in both cases. Substituting fossil gas with biomethane gave a considerable reduction in climate impact in all scenarios, especially in the case of willow pyrolysis. The willow pyrolysis system acted as a carbon sink, resulting in a negative climate impact, counteracting global warming. From a land use perspective, the transition from maize-based AD to a willow-based pyrolysis system for biomethane production could be beneficial regarding the energy performance and climate impact. Application of biochar to the soil in the willow scenario contributed significantly to counteracting emissions of greenhouse gases.

  • How to keep renewable energy enterprises to reach economic sustainable performance: from the views of intellectual capital and life cycle
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-02-26
    Xin-long Xu; Cheng Kun Liu

    Intellectual capital can not only help companies to obtain sustainable competitive advantage, but also serve as a key factor in corporate performance improvement and value creation. For knowledge-intensive and technology-intensive renewable energy companies, the effective management of intellectual capital is particularly important. However, there is a huge gap between the book value of renewable energy companies and their market value. It will be difficult to establish the most appropriate development strategy for companies by evaluating the corporate performance only based on financial indicators. Therefore, studying the value creation effect of intellectual capital will not only make new energy companies pay more attention to the intellectual capital management, but also help renewable energy companies achieve sustainable corporate performance. By choosing the listed renewable energy companies from 2010 to 2016, this paper conducts an empirical research based on the Ohlson model and use quantile regression to analyze the impacts of value-added intellectual coefficient (VAIC) on sustainable performance at different life cycle stages. The results confirm that increasing the VAIC creates value for enterprises. It also examines the effect of life cycle on this impact, and the result shows that it does not change the significant positive correlation with the economic sustainable performance at different life cycle quantiles. This paper also concludes that value-added human capital coefficient (VAHU) and value-added capital assets coefficient (VACA) are the most important component of intellectual capitals to economic sustainable performance at the growth stage, maturation stage, and decline stage. Thus, it is suggested that renewable energy enterprises should emphasize on corporate intellectual capital management activities and design intellectual capital management solutions specifically for a certain life cycle stage.

  • Potential of microfinanced solar water pumping systems for irrigation in rural areas of Burkina Faso
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-02-28
    Daniel Yamegueu; Yunus Alokore; Giulia Corso

    The population in Burkina Faso is rapidly adopting irrigation to adapt to negative impacts of climate change like prolonged drought, rainfall variability and desertification. The solar water pumping systems (SWPS) could be an attractive option in view of climate change impacts, increasing diesel costs and grid electricity scarcity that the country suffers. However, due to high initial cost SWPS, population mainly uses diesel water pumps (DWPs). The main objective of this study is to assess the potential of microfinanced SWPS for irrigation in rural areas of Burkina Faso. Based on ground data collection and profitability analysis, this study investigates the best SWPS market segments for irrigation in rural areas of Burkina Faso. The case study of the village of Korsimoro was considered. Especially, the study is focused on the onion crop as it is the most cultivated crop in the area of study. It was found that there are three main SWPS market segments in the area of study: market segment 1 which is that of farmers individually owning and using a DWP with rated power between 1.5 and 3 kW, market segment 2 which is composed of farmers individually owning a DWP of rated power ranging from 4 to 7.5 kW and market segment 3 which is that of farmers paying for pumping services offered by a pump owner in market segment 2. The study revealed that replacing polyvinyl chloride (PVC) water storage tank by DWPs to be used on cloudy days is profitable for all the market segments. The study showed also that at 9.5% interest charged on agricultural equipment, only SWPS for the market segments 2 and 3 can be fully financed through microloan without risk of long payback period. The results imply that more attention should be given to SWPS in the context of rural areas of Burkina Faso to enhance the productive use of energy and also mitigate the impacts of climate change on the environment. In addition, the study provides detailed information to farmers about how they can make more profitable their activities.

  • Valorisation of energy services: essay on the value addition due to renewable energy
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-03-20
    Yoram Krozer

    The shift from fossil fuels and traditional renewable energy to costlier modern renewable energy based on geothermal wind and solar resources is explained. Statistical data collected from 14 countries with a population greater than 100 million inhabitants was used, where the EU is considered as a country. The period from 1990 to 2015 is covered, however divided in two parts, 1990–2005 when conditions were not favourable for renewable energy because the price of fossil fuels and policy support for renewable energy were low, and 2005–2015 when these conditions improved. Theoretical analyses show that the high price of fossil fuels, policy support and cost-effective technologies can explain the fast growth of modern renewable energy during 2005–2015; however, they only partially account for its slower growth during 1990–2005. An additional explanation might be that the innovators generate qualities due to renewable energy use, which are expressed on the markets as value addition of energy services. The statistical analysis of energy services during 1990–2005 shows that the European Union (EU) led in renewable energy compared to the United States (US), Japan and other countries, which was driven by the social initiatives that fostered new firms in the electricity and gas business. A statistical analysis of energy services in the US and EU during 2005–2015 reveals that their value added has grown on an annual average of 2.0% and 2.8%, respectively, which denotes an annual increase of 3 billion and 6 billion US dollars in the 2005 value (USD2005). This valorisation of energy services has invoked further innovations in distributed energy systems and energy storage. A further statistical analysis of the 14 largest countries by population confirms a valorisation of energy services due to modern renewable energy where the emission reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) is a side-effect. Extrapolation of the average growth rates from the period 1990 to 2015 to the period 2015 to 2040, without any change but a substitution of fossil fuels for renewable energy, demonstrates that global income would grow fourfold and energy consumption twofold along with a 100 times larger modern renewable energy and CO2 reduction to 46% of the 2015 level. When those average growth rates of renewable energy decrease linear to 25% in 2040, the global modern renewable energy grows tenfold and CO2 reduces to 82% of the 2015 level. The implication of this statistical study on large countries shows that higher value energy services for households are often based on distributed renewable energy and that such an addition of value generates a CO2 emission reduction as a side effect which can be enhanced by pricing CO2 or obstructed by policy support for the vested interests. This study indicated that the valorisation of energy services will generate a growth of income, energy consumption and renewable energy along with a far-reaching emission reduction of CO2 if policies do foster sustainable innovations.

  • Development aid for energy in Small Island Developing States
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-03-25
    Aaron Atteridge; Georgia Savvidou

    Energy is given high priority in the national development agendas of most Small Island Developing States (SIDS) because it is intertwined with social, economic and environmental challenges. Many SIDS experience heavy fiscal burdens associated with imported fuels, some have very low electricity access rates, and islands also have a strong interest in the transition to cleaner energy because they are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This paper presents a global mapping of development finance for SIDS’ energy sectors. We analyse whether energy aid has increased following international commitments to support developing countries tackle climate change and whether this is supporting renewable energy, whether finance has been targeted to different recipient countries based on either their income status or their electricity access rates and whether electricity access rates have substantially improved during this time, and whether financial commitments are actually being disbursed. Focusing mainly on the period 2002–2016, we use data reported by bilateral and multilateral sources to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee on financial support to 37 SIDS. Our analysis includes almost 5700 energy-related transactions between 2002 and 2016. Data on populations and electricity access rates of individual countries come from the World Bank’s Open Data platform. We observe an increase in funding since 2009 and a shift towards renewables, and solar particularly, though oil-fired plants and other non-renewables continue to be funded. Energy aid is unevenly spread between SIDS, on a total and a per capita basis. There is little correlation between the allocations made to individual countries and either their income or energy access gaps, and improvements in electricity access have been slow in those countries where the gap is largest. We also identify low disbursement rates, suggesting implementation problems. There is an urgent need to improve the quantity and quality of aid to help SIDS tackle their significant energy challenges. While the trend towards more funding for renewables is positive, low disbursement levels and limited support for strengthening local human and institutional capacities may be limiting its effectiveness.

  • Interdisciplinary decision support model for grid-bound heat supply systems in urban areas
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-03-29
    Susanna Erker; Peter Lichtenwoehrer; Franz Zach; Gernot Stoeglehner

    In the past two centuries, energy consumption per capita has significantly increased. At the same time the fundamentals of energy provision have continuously developed towards fossil energy sources. This extended use of finite, unequally distributed and emission-intensive energy sources poses a challenge to both the energy, the climate and therefore the socio-ecological systems. Consequently, solutions are needed to reduce the fossil energy demand while fulfilling our daily energy services. District heating systems powered by renewable energy can contribute to this societal mission. This paper presents the co called Eco.District.Heat-kit, a novel planning model supporting future decision-making processes regarding grid-bound heating. The interdisciplinary approach assesses the feasibility of district heating systems at different locations from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Given the lack of quick and simple planning tools in this field, the Eco.District.Heat-kit provides a time-efficient pre-evaluation on the basis of widely available input data. The decision support model rates district heating networks regarding the thematic areas of (1) integrated spatial and energy planning (2) costs, (3) resources, and (4) environment and climate. In addition, it involves a long-term planning horizon by including spatial development and climate scenarios until 2050. Finally, the Eco.District.Heat-kit identifies parameters both positively and negatively influencing the overall rating. This enables end-users to sort out non-optimal configurations before entering a more detailed planning stage. Due to the straightforward methodological approach and the focus on basic parameters of district heating system planning, the Eco.District.Heat-kit supports energy suppliers, urban-planners and decision-makers at the beginning of planning processes. In order to increase both transparency and applicability of the model, its functionality and input parameters are disclosed within this paper, enabling the recreation and adaptation towards user-specific needs and local situations.

  • Future compatibility of district heating in urban areas — a case study analysis in the context of integrated spatial and energy planning
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-03-29
    Peter Lichtenwoehrer; Susanna Erker; Franz Zach; Gernot Stoeglehner

    District heating is widely used for thermal energy supply and offers a broad range of benefits like the possibility to integrate decentral heat supply technologies or to foster the utilisation of renewable energy sources. Thus, district heating has the potential to gradually contribute to a more sustainable thermal energy supply and to consequently facilitate the energy turn. However, due to specific requirements of this technology, strategic planning is required for the successful implementation of district heating networks. Previous research mainly focuses on either economic, environmental, or technological aspects of district heating. This study therefore aims to execute a comprehensive assessment of district heating systems in the following four sections: (1) integrated spatial and energy planning, (2) costs, (3) resources and (4) environment and climate. To this end, the recently developed Eco.District.Heat kit (EDHk) is used to evaluate and rate eight case studies consisting of 14 different urban typologies, while considering the aforementioned sections of interest. The paper applies the EDHk to assess different spatial structures and grid configurations as well as a broad mix of different thermal energy sources. With regard to integrated spatial and energy planning (section 1), the assessment shows heterogenous ratings whereas the case studies exhibit quite constant positive ratings with regard to costs (2), environment and climate (4). Although a lot of material is used for the construction of networks (i.e. resources, section 3), the question whether or not to dismantle old grids for resource utilisation cannot be answered definitely. According to our results, future development scenarios in the context of climate change and building renovation until 2050 have little influence on the final ratings. Based on the comprehensive assessment of eight case studies, it can be concluded that district heating systems offer a long-term and sustainable solution of heat supply for different spatial archetypes and types of urban fabrics. Furthermore, the proposed methodology allows users to critically examine planned projects and to detect shortcomings at an early planning stage. The EDHk thus provides a suitable methodology to support strategic decisions in integrated spatial and energy planning.

  • Possibilities for using mine waters in the context of the construction of heat energy clusters in Poland
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-05-02
    Justyna Woźniak; Katarzyna Pactwa

    Non-renewable energy continues to remain the main link in energy production in Poland. At the end of 2016, fossil fuels (hard coal and lignite) accounted for around 82% of gross domestic energy production. Reducing the share of fossil fuels in renewable energy sources in the overall energy mix is a long-term process. An example of solutions for the use of renewable energy sources as one of the key elements of sustainable development, ensuring rational, economical, ecological and social effects is the application of heat from mine waters for the production of thermal energy. The work estimates the current national energy balance in the country and describes the role of fossil fuels in the context of the issue of low emissions. Political transformation and accession to the European Union (EU) have contributed to greater care for natural environment. Poland, while being obliged to comply with the European guidelines, monitors the state of atmospheric air pollution and takes measures to improve its condition. Research issues presented in the article are addressed in the socio-environmental context. The method of reviewing scientific articles on the subject was used in the course of research task implementation (leading to the creation of a sustainable energy node or the idea of use of mine water). In addition, an analysis was carried out of the existing energy clusters in order to catch up with the standards of the European Union. The analysis of world and national literature shows potential of using energy from the mining waters of active and closed mining plants. The authors propose the introduction of a precise term regarding mining potential as a thermal energy cluster. The opportunity to change the image of mines as polluters consists in using their potential beyond their main activity profile. Furthermore, the use of the hidden potential of mines signifies prolonging the life of an enterprise and thus, as its consequence, sustaining jobs and developing the region. The analyses presented in the article indicate the possibility of thermal energy production from mine waters not as an alternative but as an addition to the existing solutions, especially for the local needs.

  • Network governance and the Urban Nexus of water, energy, and food: lessons from Amsterdam
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-05-02
    Moises Covarrubias; Gert Spaargaren; Ingrid Boas

    Silo-thinking stands for one-dimensional and sectorial policy and decision-making in which natural resources managers do not reflect on interrelations between different sectors involved in the management of resources. Nexus-thinking stands out as a way of breaking down silos by identifying and understanding the interconnectedness of multiple resource flows within a determined spatial and temporal context, as in our case study of the flows of water, energy, and food (WEF) in the city of Amsterdam. To further the conceptualization and analysis of the Urban Nexus, this research introduces the theoretical perspective of networks and flows as developed in sociology by Manuel Castells. It offers a set of concepts to analyze how networks of WEF integrate or fail to do so, what the main actors are in connecting and configuring WEF networks, and how they interact. We analyze how the structure and function and power dynamics of networks play out in the WEF Nexus. We use the city of Amsterdam as a case study because this city offers examples of how networks of provisioning are being integrated in innovate ways. Amsterdam managed to realize a certain level of nexus dynamics in its existing WEF networks. The nexus in Amsterdam so far has materialized at a start-up or experimental level which proved feasible for trying out innovative approaches towards sustainability in interconnected flows of WEF. However, the studied projects still have to find their way in terms of becoming more prevailing modes for organizing water, energy, and food provisioning in the future.

  • Analysis of the pattern of energy consumptions and its impact on urban environmental sustainability in Jordan: Amman City as a case study
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-05-09
    Rami Nabil Dar-Mousa; Zeyad Makhamreh

    The energy sector plays an important role in the economic growth in Jordan due to the fact that Jordan imports around 97% of its needs from primary energy. The purpose of this study is to explore the pattern of electricity consumption and energy loss to highlight the strengths and weakness of energy efficiency in the context of the urban sustainability of Amman City in Jordan. The design of sustainable urban development is based on the urban interdependencies approach, which incorporates the stakeholders to identify and pursue synergies between multiple sectors. This approach includes the identification of the functional sectors, which are related to institutional and behavioral levels in the society, raising the level of institutional performance and improving the quality of urban services. The spatial statistical analysis approach and GIS applied to analyze the consumption pattern of electrical power in the study area. There was a considerable increase in the peak domestic consumption, as the peak load reached 3320 MW in 2017 with an annual increment rate of 4.9%. Regarding energy efficiency, the value of total electrical energy losses reached 13% in 2017; around 90% of this loss occurred in the electrical distribution stage. Geographical distribution of the household electrical power shows that the east and middle parts of Amman have low consumption levels compared to the west residential parts. The energy consumption pattern has an inverse relation with the population distribution, family size, and building characteristics in the city. This is clearly identified by addressing the downtown region that has the lowest energy consumption and the highest-density population, while the western part has the highest energy consumption and low-population density. These variations can be referred to as differences in social and economic behaviors of inhabitants in both high-density and low-density population areas. This analysis reflects the influence of several factors that should be taken into account in energy sustainability strategies. Energy consumption is influenced by the characteristics of households which include building size, household income, total energy cost, and building characteristics (e.g., building design, age, location, and using thermal insulation system for buildings).

  • Off-grid opportunities and threats in the wake of India’s electrification push
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-05-22
    Anthony P. Heynen; Paul A. Lant; Simon Smart; Srinivas Sridharan; Chris Greig

    In pursuing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy access for all, India’s electrification efforts are dominated by a central electricity grid, with 100% of villages now connected. Despite this, 305 million people still remain without electricity. Off-grid electrification may play an important role in energy access for these ‘last mile’ consumers. However, opportunities are directly influenced by government plans and policies, including the integration of grid and off-grid systems. This paper aims to provide a contemporary assessment of the policies of the government, and how they manifest in electrification systems in rural and remote India, revealing opportunities and threats for the sector. The progress of village electrification is examined via policy announcements and the Indian government’s dedicated websites on progress. The role and extent of off-grid systems are then examined in two contrasting Indian states: industrialised Maharashtra and less-developed Odisha. Publically-available information is supplemented with data obtained directly from known private sector operators and state agencies. The geographic and societal setting of off-grid locations is then examined to provide contextual commentary. Finally, interviews with key stakeholders (regulatory authorities, distribution companies, private firms, industry bodies and academia) were undertaken to validate findings. There is evidence of some remote localities not included in the government’s electrification programs. The grid’s poor quality and reliability, along with affordability barriers, means that the government’s grid connection efforts may not result in significant improvements in electricity use by some consumers. Data from Maharashtra and Odisha showed limited private sector off-grid systems, generally operating on the periphery of government programs. This is despite the fact that there seems to be an opportunity for the private sector to enter the market, given the grid’s shortcomings. The shortcomings of India’s centralised electrification paradigm could be overcome through more localised off-grid solutions that can access ‘last mile’ consumers. The government might consider achieving this by formally recognising the role of off-grid systems in India’s electrification objectives. Further, the government could extend the reach of electrification by transferring responsibilities for household electricity access to local-level businesses and community organisations.

  • Transition governance for energy efficiency - insights from a systematic review of Swedish policy evaluation practices
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-05-29
    Sofie Sandin; Lena Neij; Per Mickwitz

    The transition towards a more sustainable energy system is urgent for addressing global environmental and social challenges, and will require transformative changes including improved energy efficiency in the built environment. To reach identified efficiency potentials, various policy instruments have been introduced but their effects are often unclear. In this paper, we argue that the outline of transformative policy strategies will require well-designed evaluations. The objective is to present a theory-based evaluation framework that can be used to assess existing evaluations, in order to support transformative policy strategies. The framework is also applied to provide insights from current Swedish evaluation practices. The theory-based evaluation framework presented builds on evaluation theory, policy analysis and transition research and is arranged around methods, value judgements and use of the evaluations. Moreover, key aspects from transition research are included to provide guidance for transformative efforts in the evaluations. The systematic review presented in the paper is qualitative, covering 33 policy evaluations for energy efficiency in buildings in Sweden, commissioned by Swedish governmental authorities over a decade. The results of the review reveal a wide range of evaluations undertaken, using a sound methodological evaluation base that builds on a variety of methods for analysis, and application of multi-criteria analyses. Commonly, however, a rather narrow scope was applied and we note a missed opportunity for triangulation of findings. Key aspects for capturing transformative efforts, such as system-, scale- and multi-actor approaches, as well as visioning, experimentation and learning, were considered to varying extents, but could be more explicit and elaborate. In all, we find the proposed theory-based evaluation framework useful for assessing and discussing both robustness and transformative efforts of current policy and evaluation practices. The review of the Swedish policy evaluations further indicates sound evaluation practices, and a foundational structure for identifying and analysing transformative efforts. To fully support transformative changes, we suggest a wider system perspective and a more thorough multi-actor approach and actor involvement in the evaluations. We also stress the need to further link evaluation theory with transition research to design evaluations that can support transformative changes in society.

  • An assessment of threats to the American power grid
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-05-29
    Matthew Weiss; Martin Weiss

    Concern has been raised that the electrical grid of this nation is vulnerable to prolonged collapse. The postulated mechanisms are geomagnetic storms, electromagnetic pulse attacks (EMP) via a high altitude nuclear detonation, cyberattacks, and kinetic attacks. The likelihood of such events and the consequences to the American public of a protracted electric power failure are reviewed.

  • The impact of different GHG reduction scenarios on the economy and social welfare of Thailand using a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-06-03
    Salony Rajbhandari; Bundit Limmeechokchai; Toshihiko Masui

    The Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of Thailand intends to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 to 25% from the projected business as usual level by 2030 with the deployment of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency improvement measures in both the supply and demand sectors. However, in order to contribute towards meeting the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement to stay well below 2 °C, ambitious mitigation efforts beyond 2030 are needed. As such, it is necessary to assess the effects of imposing more stringent long-term GHG reduction targets in Thailand beyond the NDC commitment. This paper analyses the macroeconomic effects of limiting the GHG emissions by using a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model on Thailand’s economy during 2010 to 2050. Besides the business as usual (BAU) scenario, this study assesses the macroeconomic effects of ten low to medium GHG mitigation scenarios under varying GHG reduction targets of 20 to 50%. In addition, this study also assesses three different peak emission scenarios, each targeting a GHG reduction of up to 90% by 2050, to analyze the feasibility of zero GHG emissions in Thailand to pursue efforts to hold the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, as considered in the Paris Agreement. According to the BAU scenario, the GHG emissions from the electricity, industry, and transport sectors would remain the most prominent throughout the planning period. The modeling results indicate that the medium to peak emission reduction scenarios could result in a serious GDP loss compared to the BAU scenario, and therefore, the attainment of such mitigation targets could be very challenging for Thailand. Results suggest that the development and deployment of energy-efficient and renewable energy-based technologies would play a significant role not only in minimizing the GHG emissions but also for overcoming the macroeconomic loss and lowering the price of GHG emissions. The results reveal that without a transformative change in the economic structure and energy system of Thailand, the country would have to face enormous cost in reducing its GHG emissions.

  • Households’ energy preference and consumption intensity in Kenya
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-06-03
    Charity Kageni Mbaka; Joseph Gikonyo; Oscar Masika Kisaka

    There have been notable joint efforts from the private and public sectors in promoting households’ access to clean and efficient energy sources. Despite the noteworthy progress realized over the years, the consumption and reliance on clean energy sources are reportedly low. This scenario is evident among households practicing multiple energy use, whereby energy proportions consumed from the clean energy sources are much lower compared to non-clean energy sources. As such, reliance on non-clean energy has greatly hindered the projected welfare and productive gains that comes along with access to clean energy sources. To understand households’ energy consumption behavior, this study takes into consideration that energy preference (choice) and intensity (proportions consumed) are two independent decisions. Therefore, a succinct understanding of the factors affecting these decisions acts as a basis for an optimal transition to clean energy sources. The study utilized a nationally representative cross-sectional household dataset (3663 households) across Kenya. A series of diagnostic and specification tests were carried out so as to identify the most suitable estimation technique in achieving the underlying objectives of the study. The preference for Cragg’s double-hurdle model was premised on the fact that the model postulates that households must pass two separate hurdles before a positive level of consuption is observed. Maximum likelihood estimations were derived, followed by the marginal effects for the probability of participation and consumption intensity (conditional and unconditional) to unveil the effects of explanatory variables on the dependent variable. Results show the diversity in magnitude and direction of how various factors affect the preference and consumption intensity among households. For instance, households’ energy preference and consumption intensity are predominantly affected by location (rural or urban), household’s decision maker on energy use, education level, age of the household head, and the average monthly income. In this regard, the promotion of clean energy use should target households in rural areas and households with lower level of education and lower income brackets. Uptake of clean energy sources such as liquefied petroleum gas should be encouraged among rural and urban poor households through reducing the upfront cost of acquiring cylinders and the refilling costs.

  • Biogas production from submerged macrophytes—a case study of regional biomass potentials in Germany
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-06-10
    Markus Röhl; Sandra Roth; Wolfgang Schütz; Andreas Zehnsdorf; Carsten Herbes

    Utilization of energy crops for biogas production has been controversially discussed in Germany due to negative environmental effects and the “food vs. fuel” debate. This led to a search for alternative substrates focusing on material from landscape management measures. Aquatic biomass is harvested during water body management, yet it has not been considered for energy generation. The information where and which amount of biomass is collected by aquatic de-weeding operations in rivers and lakes was gathered via a nationwide survey. In addition to that, the amount of aquatic plant biomass potentially available in water bodies was estimated exemplarily for the flowing waters of Baden-Württemberg—by using data from the European Water Framework Directive surveys. The survey revealed 172 locations of de-weeding operations in flowing waters and 93 in standing waters. These locations are concentrated in lowland rivers of the North German Plain as well as the Upper Rhine Plain. Standing water de-weeding operations were reported mainly from the foothills of the Alps. The overall amount of biomass harvested per year is 36,244 t of fresh biomass. Taking into account missing data, a maximum of 100,000 t of fresh biomass per year can be estimated for Germany. The case study on plant biomass de-weeded from waters in Germany revealed that only a small part of the total aquatic plant biomass is actually harvested. The amount of biomass harvested and removed from water bodies in Germany is considerably lower than the harvest of other substrates from landscape management measures such as mowing of meadows or trimming of trees and hedges. However, larger amounts are accumulating locally, concentrated in some regions or at specific water bodies, e.g., reservoirs, for which regional value chains could be established. In order to make the exploitation of these local potentials economically viable, changes regarding the economic and technological framework are required.

  • Quantification and characterization of cocoa pod husks for electricity generation in Uganda
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-06-13
    George Kilama; Peter O. Lating; Joseph Byaruhanga; Saphina Biira

    Due to limited coverage, the electricity power supply in Uganda is an obstacle to the country’s economic development. Utility firms in Uganda either lack the financial capacity to expand their grids to isolated rural areas or choose not to do so due to the low return on investment. Therefore, connecting households to mini-grids represents an effective solution to providing power to remote/rural areas. This study evaluates the resource and technology of generating electrical energy from cocoa pod husks (CPHs), an agricultural residue/waste, generated in Uganda. The use of agricultural waste for energy generation is the most suitable option for the rural population in Uganda because of the availability of a raw material (biomass) for its production, which is pollution-free (renewable and clean) and does not have competition for use. The inability to convert these solid wastes into useful products culminates into environmental related challenges, such as landfilling, climate change, pests, and diseases. Therefore, the aim of this study is to quantify the amount of generated CPHs and evaluate its potential for electricity generation in Uganda. Subsequently, we have been looking into the potential of CPHs as a feedstock for a thermochemical conversion process and the feasibility of a direct combustion technology. The amount of CPHs generated in Uganda has been estimated. The physiochemical analysis has shown that the proportion of CPHs in the fresh pods is about 74%, which is nearly the same as in other studies. The dry matter content of CPHs has been found to be on an average of 19%, whereas ash content, moisture content, and the gross caloric value have been recorded to be 12.3%, 12.58%, and 17.5%, respectively. It seems therefore likely that 41.7 GJ of energy might be produced each year from CPHs in Uganda. This study has demonstrated that the CPHs are an important energy source. As there is an increasing trend in cocoa and CPH production in Uganda per year, the electricity production based on CPHs is sustainable and can be upgraded. The use of CPHs for energy conversion is therefore feasible, cost-efficient, and a solution to some environmental challenges.

  • How and to which extent can the gas sector contribute to a climate-neutral European energy system? A qualitative approach
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-06-13
    Christian Lebelhuber; Horst Steinmüller

    Mitigating climate change requires fundamentally redesigned energy systems in which renewable energy sources ultimately replace fossil fuels such as natural gas. In this context, the question how and to which extent the gas sector can contribute to an increasingly climate-neutral future EU energy system is heavily debated among scholars, energy industry experts, and policy makers. We take a two-step approach: we begin with a review of studies from energy industry and academia to discuss potential gas sector contributions from a holistic energy system design point of view; this is followed by a comprehensive discussion of technical potentials, micro-economic conditions, and societal implications of renewable gas. We then enrich our findings with the results of an empirical focus group process. The gas sector can not only contribute to balancing volatile renewable energy production but also enable the supply of renewable energy to end-users in gaseous form; based on existing infrastructure. This could reduce costs for society, increase public acceptance, and ultimately speed up the energy system transformation. There is the theoretical technical potential to substitute major parts of natural gas with renewable gas of biogenic and synthetic nature. This, however, crucially requires a supportive policy framework like the one established for renewable electricity. Given the societal benefits and the competitiveness of renewable gas as compared to renewable alternatives, energy policy makers should incorporate renewable gas and the existing gas infrastructure in the future energy system framework. The objective should be an optimized interplay of various energy vectors and their infrastructure along the entire energy supply chain. This requires a level playing field for different renewable technologies across different policy areas and a form of public support that strikes the balance between facilitating the gradual substitution of natural gas by renewable gas while maintaining public acceptance for this transformation despite higher costs for end-users.

  • Geothermal energy for desalination to secure food security: case study in Djibouti
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-06-18
    D. Chandrasekharam; A. Lashin; Nassir Al Arifi; Abdulaziz M. Al-Bassam; C. Varun

    By the year 2025, nearly 3.5 billion people in the world will have no water, including 900,000 from Djibouti. The economic losses caused by the 2000–2012 drought pushed the country to a state of disaster. This has devastated Djibouti’s economy and left millions hungry. This is due to the country’s inability to grow food and dependence on the food imports. The 5 US$ million granted by the WB was not able to reduce the hunger and prevent further increase in poverty and social unrest due to want of food and water. This paper provides a solution to create a self-sustainable society that can live above the current poverty line. The study was carried out based on field investigation and published literature. Desalination cost comparison between fossil fuel-based technology and renewable energy-based technology was carried out based on data from working plants. These data were used to analyse the cost-benefit ratio of fresh water generated from seawater and its use in securing food to the population. By developing the geothermal resources, the country can be lifted above the poverty line. What the country needs, to come out of this crisis, is fresh water supply. The country’s geothermal energy resource can generate 900 × 106 kWh of electricity. The electricity required to generate 1000 m3/day (10 × 106 kg/year) of fresh water from the sea is about 11 × 106 MWh. The cost of desalinated water through geothermal energy sources is 1.6 US$/m3 which is far less than the desalinated water generated through any other energy source. Billions of dollars given as aid for poverty alleviation can be utilized to develop geothermal power plants to provide permanent food security to the country. The rural population of Djibouti can improve their socio-economic status and secure food security and eradicate hunger through geothermal energy source. Local governments also should play an important role in advising the funding institutions to develop geothermal power projects to support agricultural activity and create employment to the rural population and support a sustainable society.

  • Factors influencing the environmental and economic feasibility of district heating systems—a perspective from integrated spatial and energy planning
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-06-25
    Franz Zach; Susanna Erker; Gernot Stoeglehner

    District heating systems have been gaining importance in the last years. However, local circumstances, e.g. regarding heat demand and available heat sources, are diverse and new technologies especially in the low-temperature sector arise. Central aim of this research is to identify the impact of integrated spatial and energy planning on the environmental and economic sustainability of district heating systems, to distinguish between more and less appropriate areas for district heating and to build the basis for a low-barrier decision tool for local authorities regarding the identification of areas suitable for district heating, also showing spatial planning strategies to enhance the opportunities for district heating. Future changes until 2050 are analysed and planning principles derived; therefore, unpredictable parameters such as energy prices and subsidies are not included in this research. Based on the system analysis according to Vester, a modified method was developed. The following research fields were involved: spatial planning, resource management, environmental planning, and energy and building technology. As main integrated spatial and energy planning aspects relevant for district heating, mix of functions, potential of compacting and extension, density of buildings, inhabitants and employees, building type, thermal insulation potential, and the used heat source(s) were identified. By steering these parameters, the feasibility of district heating systems can be enhanced. Indicators, directly linked to the feasibility of district heating systems are energy consumption density, number of annual full load hours, temperature level, and available heat source(s). Climate change, changes in building density, thermal insulation, and the mix of functions will influence district heating systems regarding environmental and economic aspects. Reduced heat consumption can be a threat to district heating systems, but can be balanced by decreasing inlet temperatures, making waste heat and renewables accessible. As district heating systems are often advantageous to other forms of providing heat due to higher resilience, the economies of scale effect, or the potential of using energy surpluses (‘waste heat’), spatial planning policies must seek ways to provide for adequate building density and to enhance the mix of functions in order to ensure the long-term feasibility of district heating systems.

  • Promoting adoption while avoiding rebound: integrating disciplinary perspectives on market diffusion and carbon impacts of electric cars and building renovations in Austria
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-07-02
    Sebastian Seebauer; Veronika Kulmer; Claudia Fruhmann

    Many countries state ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions. Their policy strategies emphasize energy efficiency by means of technological innovations. However, these strategies are at risk of severe rebound effects, as savings from more efficient products and facilities may be (over-)compensated by rearrangements in consumer behavior. While rebound effects are widely acknowledged, it is less clear how they arise from the complex interactions between market actors, consumer preferences, and policy initiatives. We propose a simplified representation of these complex dynamics, in order to point out levers for counteracting rebound effects. A pathway mapping integrates results from fuzzy cognitive mapping of expert knowledge, from a household survey on adoption and use and from macroeconomic modelling of energy efficiency policies. Core drivers identified across all methods are joined to a cause-and-effect diagram. The respective strengths of influence are standardized to effect coefficients. By tracing policy impulses through the web of interlinked drivers, the pathway mapping illustrates direct, mediated, and unintended impacts on market diffusion, rebound, and carbon emission reductions of energy-efficient technologies. Pathway mapping is demonstrated as an approach for integrating diverse disciplinary methods into a joint narrative illustrating overarching dynamics. Applying this methodology to building renovations and electric cars in Austria, the need to balance technology adoption and use becomes apparent. Convergent drivers stimulate the market uptake of the energy-efficient technology and simultaneously constrain rebound effects. For instance, educating customers on product features and activating their pro-environmental values, encourages technology adoption as well as ecological use. Contrastingly, divergent drivers have opposing effects on adoption and use. For example, fuel taxes counteract rebound, but also hinder adoption by increasing lifetime costs. Higher income enables adopters to carry upfront investment costs, but also increases spending in other, carbon-intensive consumption domains. The pathway maps show that market-oriented instruments promote the adoption of energy-efficient technologies but also the rebound effect in their subsequent use. Policy interventions should be carefully designed to leverage convergent and to circumnavigate divergent drivers in order to address multiple impact paths. Climate strategies should not underestimate the role of socio-psychological characteristics and key actors.

  • Adapting the theory of resilience to energy systems: a review and outlook
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-07-10
    Bernhard-Johannes Jesse; Heidi Ursula Heinrichs; Wilhelm Kuckshinrichs

    Sustainable systems must maintain their function even in the event of disruptions in order to be considered truly sustainable. The theory of resilience concerns the behavior of systems during and aftershocks. Initially, modern understanding of resilience focused on ecological systems; however, the theory was extended to include the ecological aspects and the also social aspects of a system. As a result of climate change, increased efforts have been made to ensure energy systems are more sustainable. The issue of resilience has therefore significantly gained importance of late to energy systems. In the future, modern energy systems will be increasingly exposed to disruptions, whether due to climate change, terrorism, or variable power supply from renewable energy sources. Protecting energy systems from all these threats is only possible at great cost, but it is much more sensible to design resilient systems that can quickly resume their system function after a disturbance. This review looks at research into the resilience and its application to energy systems and identifies similarities and differences. Starting with Holling’s contribution to resilience, the development of the theory is examined and the different definitions are compared. The differences between engineering and ecological resilience are also discussed. Additionally, the review examines, on the one hand, criticism of the theory of resilience and, on the other hand, remaining questions in relation to the application of resilience, such as the system’s state after the disruption. The paper subsequently examines the application of the theory of resilience to different energy systems. The review concludes with an outlook on the possibility of operationalizing resilience for energy systems.

  • A spatially explicit approach to modeling biological productivity and economic attractiveness of short-rotation woody crops in the eastern USA
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-07-23
    John A. Stanturf; James H. Perdue; Timothy M. Young; Xia Huang; Zhimei Guo; Derek Dougherty; Michael Pigott

    Over the past two decades, the United States government conducted detailed analyses of the potential of a biobased national energy strategy that produced four unified studies, namely the 2005–2016 US Billion-Ton Study and updates. With each effort, better perspective was gained on the biophysical potential of biomass and the economic availability of these resources on a national scale. It was also apparent that many questions remained, including crop yields, logistical operations, and systems integration across production and harvest. These reports accentuated the need for improving geospatial performance metrics for biomass supply chains. This study begins to address these problems by developing spatially specific data layers that incorporate data on soils, climatology, growth, and economics for short-rotation woody biomass plantations. Methods were developed to spatially assess the potential productivity and profitability of four candidate species Pinus taeda L., Populus deltoides W. Bartram ex Marshall and Populus hybrids, Eucalyptus grandis Hill ex Maiden, and Eucalyptus benthamii Maiden et Cambage for biomass plantations in the eastern United States. Productivity was estimated using the process-based growth model 3PG (Physiological Processes Predicting Growth) parameterized at the resolution of the United States 5-digit zip code tabulation area (ZCTA). Each ZCTA is unique in terms of species suitability, cost, and productive potential. These data layers make available dedicated energy crop analyses for practitioners interested in facility siting scenarios in conjunction with a species growth potential at a particular location. Production systems for SRWC are extremely regionalized given key biophysical and economic factors that determine the potential for acceptable growth and profitability. This analysis points to the return on invested capital being dependent on the site location of a species within its operable range. Large-scale biomass plantation systems are feasible in regions with higher potential internal rate of return. The higher the potential return, the more desirable it is to plant the specific species on the site. Increasing the available feedstock by lowering cost, increasing productivity, and stabilizing logistics would have a similar effect as higher feedstock prices. The modeled growth can be used for further economic evaluation, carbon sequestration studies, and sustainability research.

  • Theory and practice of European co-operative education and training for the support of energy transition
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-07-25
    Stephan Maier; Michael Narodoslawsky; Lidia Borell-Damián; Maarten Arentsen; Marlene Kienberger; Wolfgang Bauer; Maria Ortner; Nigel Foxhall; Gerhard Oswald; Joan-Marc Joval; Yoram Krozer; Theresa Urbanz; Christian Sakulin; Sebestyen Tihamer-Tibor; Viktorija Dobravec

    European visions such as the European Commission’s Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan and the SET Plan Roadmap Education and Training encourages higher education institutions (HEI) and business to establish adequate co-operative education and training approaches in the face of the challenges posed by the energy transition necessary to achieve European Union’s climate goals. The development of integrated co-operative education, training and learning systems is a fundamental strategy to foster co-operation between academic institutions and business. Available sources about the theoretical and practical knowledge of co-operative education and training are limited. To identify available information and create new information where there is no this research was carried out by means of a literature study and a database search on existing co-operative education formats. This was supplemented by an analysis of seven actual case study reports regarding examples drawn from the BioEnergyTrain (BET) project commissioned under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. Co-operation for educational purposes between higher education institutions (HEI) and business exists on the curricular, course and internship level.Considering the total number of studies on a curricular level in Europe, only very few co-operative education programmes exist. On the curricular level, most of the appropriate formats are dual studies with Bachelors’ programmes, fewer are dual studies with Master’s programmes. Co-operation formats on the course level do not follow institutionalised rules and are case-specifically applied. The studies presented in this journal dealing with practical examples emphasise the high potential for improving student’s skills and insight into business that such co-operative formats offer to universities and business partners.Co-operation on an internship level has a long tradition of exposing students to the business environment they will later work in. Internships however do not provide high-intensity co-operation between business and HEIs. Therefore, it is outside the focus of this paper’s attention. Results of statistical analysis reveal a total number of 19,822 related dual study programmes in the year 2018 alone in Germany whereas, for co-operative curricula on a master’s level, just 73 can be tracked in whole Europe. Results of the case study reports are further discussed in Additional files 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Existing research and descriptions of co-operative education and training are limited. However, based on the available sources, this study discusses co-operative education regarding its roots, types, role of business, type of rotation, salary, and legal issues as well as efforts on a European level to create and put into practice adequate forms of co-operative education supplemented by case studies. The huge gap between generally available dual study programmes on a bachelor’s and master’s level and available studies throughout Europe is partly related to the fact that most of the dual study programmes are on a bachelor’s level and partly related to a limited sharing of collective university information on comprehensive platforms. Through the main foci of the study on the theoretical background of co-operative studies as well as the practical implementation of co-operative education practice, all European academic institutions could not be contacted and analysed individually. There is not much available data on co-operative study programmes. This may be due to the fact that co-operation in education and training between academic institutions and business plays only a minor role in the overall education system. Apart from dual study programmes, co-operative education and training formats usually are not defined unambiguously because the number of co-operative education programmes directed towards meeting the challenges posed by the energy transition is low. Although both the SET Plan Roadmap Education and Training developed within the SET Plan process and the Action Agenda for European Universities developed by the European University Association (EUA) identify co-operation between HEIs and business as crucial to meet these challenges (Borrell-Damian and Narodoslawsky [Additional file 1]), much remains to be done in this respect. There is a need for institutions all over Europe which are able and willing to provide a platform for such co-operation and co-ordinate the development of co-operative learning formats, especially on the course level, across sectoral boundaries. The energy transition definitely requires adequately trained people to deal with and create low emission energy systems and the challenges arising therewith.

  • Maximizing social benefit from finite energy resource allocation
    Energy Sustain. Soc. (IF 1.901) Pub Date : 2019-07-29
    Jenifer L. Wightman; Peter B. Woodbury

    Since the industrial revolution, human population and fossil energy consumption have steadily increased. With concerns over fossil energy impact on air quality and global climate, there is increasing interest in collection and conversion of non-fossil energy feedstocks. These finite renewable feedstocks (biomass, solar, wind) provide a challenge based on their land-limited supply and temporal availability. Consequently, society needs methodologies to increase end-user efficiency to maximize the energetic utility and sociological benefit from the finite land base. This paper presents a methodology for evaluating whole system effectiveness from a finite unit of biomass feedstock. By analyzing conversion of raw energy inputs into final energy services (FES) delivered in the form of transport or heat to society, we assess the FES returned on energy investment (ERoEIfes). Comparison of ERoEIfes across 11 different conversion pathways illustrates the relative delivered social benefit of each pathway derived from the same finite feedstock. We found previously that New York (NY) could sustainably produce 14.2 Tg/y of biomass feedstocks from agriculture and forestry (equivalent to 7% of NY’s primary energy consumption of 3.9 EJ). We found that high value FES as a percentage of energy in the biomass feedstock ranged from 5 to 15% for transport and 12 to 71% for heat (residential or commercial). However, the FES provided for six pathways was more than 2-fold higher if co-products were used. This method (1) internalizes energetic processing and use losses (2) to compare pathways and systems (3) that maximize services and value derived from land-limited sustainably harvested resources (4) thus providing a holistic approach increasing the value of a unit of land to generate primary energy resources, sustainably. This case study provides a framework to assess a range of conversion pathways for any finite energy feedstock for society. Across all biomass types and conversion processes, the replicable ERoEIfes methodology provides a foundation for decision-makers to compare FES delivered and then develop policies that reap the most benefit per unit of finite feedstock, thus assisting in more effective transition away from fossil-based feedstocks.

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