#betd21 Panel: The Great Shift to Electrification - Panacea or Headache?

#betd21 Panel: The Great Shift to Electrification - Panacea or Headache?

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The global shift towards an intensifying  electrification of functions and lifestyles   has gathered considerable momentum in past  years. It is considered today to be a mega   trend of the new century. One that accelerates  the energy transition but also involves some   risks. This session explores the limits to  mass electrification. How about industrialized   and developing countries? And can electricity  replace today's heating and cooling technologies?  Your question, ladies and gentlemen. The  commercial availability of a growing range   of low emission technologies puts electricity  at the forefront of decarbonization efforts.   But does that make the future all electric as is  sometimes clim or d oes it overstate electricity's   contribution and risk obscuring complexities and  trade-offs? Those are some of the questions that   we want to explore with four expert guests. And  as always, our timeframe is quite tight, so I'm  

going to keep the intros short and also ask all of  our speakers to please keep your answers as brief   as you can, two minutes would be very helpful  because we really don't have much more than 20   minute, all told, for this session. And I'm very  pleased to welcome professor Chems-Eddine Chitour.   Also Claudia Kemfert is with us, the head  of the Transportation and Environment at   DIW. Great to see you again, Claudia  Kemfert. Alix Chambris is joining us,   Vice President of the group Of Public Affairs  and sustainability at a group headquartered   here in Germany. I'm pleased to welcome Dr. Alan  Finkel. Great to see you again. Let me begin   with an overview and ask you all to look  at the reality behind the electrification   hype. I'll start out with Minister Chitour.  Algeria is one of the big African countries  

and important natural gas exporter, of  course, and also has enormous potential   for solar power production and export of that  power. So do you think that by 2050 Algeria could   switch its energy model which here to for has been  based on natural gas and over to green hydrogen? Claudia, could you give us a brief overview  of the status and trends of the electrical   usage in developing and established countries   to help us understand this great shift  to electrification we are talking about?  Yes, of course. Melinda, great to see you again.  I'm happy to be here. Just to briefly explain,   the main future energy consumption will  be electric with few exceptions. Indeed   the new oil. If we want to keep global warming  limited below 2 degrees, the global greenhouse   gas emissions must fall to zero as quickly  as possible. That's zero, not net zero.  

So renewable energy is the only energy that  meets all the requirements that is emission-free,   low-risk, available everywhere and useable  today, decentralized and cost effective.   The current nuclear fossil energy system is not  compatible with environmental goals. It's risky.   We need renewable water, wind,  storage or renewable energy system   for everything, while also addressing  the non?energy emissions. So,   the transition involves electrification  of most everything. That is vehicles,  

heating, building and cooking, and industrial  processes that we will talk about here also today.   So, what we need is an electricity entirely  provided with wind, water, geothermal and   solar. And we estimate due to the efficiency of  the electricity of contribution and other factors,   such electrification will reduce worldwide  energy needs over 50%. So although overall   energy requirements will decline, the electricity  requirements will be about 50% greater than today.  

So the more energy will be electricity. And the  biggest challenge in the industrialized countries   is to completely decarbonize the economy  and implement the energy shift towards 100%   renewable energy system. As a fossil nuclear  energy system dominates in almost all countries,   there is a long way to go, and we are running  out of time for climate protection reasons. And   renewable energies have many advantages. The  costs are continuously decreasing. They are  

decentralized and can be used anywhere. So solar  energy, for example, can be installed on all   house roofs. This is particularly attractive  for developing countries. Renewable energies   avoid fossil energy wars and also  nuclear weapons and the energy transition   based on a 100% renewable energy is the  best peace project we have on earth.  But green electricity must be used wherever  possible. In the mobility sector by strengthening   the public transport and individual transport, and  also buildings with heat pumps in combination with   consistent energy savings. So, electricity?first  is the model. Energy?saving and eliminating   energy waste is also crucial. There are only a few  areas where electricity cannot be used directly.  

That is heavy transport outside of trolley  tracks where green hydrogen or synthetic fuels,   that means fuels produced from green electricity,  will be used. And just as, for example, shipping   and transport as well. And heavy industry,  especially the production of steel and metals   where coal GHB have to be replaced. And  green hydrogen will have to be used there,  

too, but it's really important that we talk about  green hydrogen. That it's really green. That it's   produced with green electricity. Because all  other colors are either too high in emissions   or use unsafe processes such as carbon capture  and storage and thus environmental hazards.   Inefficient high costs exclude high risks from  enormous and expansive technologies such as   nuclear. So, hydrogen has no role to play in  the heating sector or in cars, but hydrogen   must be produced with green electricity as it  loses a lot of energy in the production and   loses process. Hydrogen is not the new oil. So,  renewable electricity is the new oil. Thanks. Thank you very much. Let me go  straight to Alix Chambris. So we just  

heard there from Claudia Kemfert, yes,   the shift is happening. We're looking at a mostly  if not all?electric future. What does that mean   for you in the heating industry? Will that change  transition strategies in the building sector? Thank you. So, we agree that electrification  will play a huge role in helping us to reach   the Net Zero targets in buildings. So we  will see an increase electrification of space   heating and heat pumps for sure will be the big  winner of the energy transition in buildings.   Yet come to the title, panacea or headache?  And we are convinced that we need a balance,   a mix of clean gas in buildings by 2050  to optimize energy system costs and   also take the people side into account. So let  me summarize the three reasons why we believe   that green gasses will still play a role and must  play a role in buildings in the Net Zero economy.  

The first reason is that buildings are extremely  heterogeneous and they're a very hard to abate   sector. And one solution does not fit all the  different building types and the taste of people.   So we need to add as many decarbonizing options  as possible to meet the Net Zero by 2050. The   more options on the way, the higher the likeliness  that we meet the target. Another reason is social   acceptance. A one?size?fits?all doesn't fit the  people's preferences and people's choice and,   again, financial power. And finally,  the most important reason why we believe  

that a fuller, complete electrification is not the  right way. It is the energy system perspective. So   we have to remember that space heating, especially  in central Europe, a colder region, is extremely   seasonal, and in the wintertime, the heating  not only increases close to three?fold or more,   meaning that you need to supply this heat demand  in the wintertime where often you have sometimes   no wind and often no sun. So there is really this  energy security approach to have in mind. And   allowing a share of gas to co?exist in buildings  by 2050 reduces the system costs. It reduces the   need for backup generation capacity. It reduce  ?? it optimizes the size of the electricity grid.   And overall just to take the example of Germany,  it was calculated you could save on a yearly basis   11 billion Euros just by allowing a smart dose  of gas to exist next to electricity in 2050.

Thank you very much. Let me go over now to Alan  Finkel. We have a bit of a debate here so far   as to whether green gas and electrification  are compliments or in a sense competitors.   Claudia Kemfert telling us that there are some  sectors where green gas, green hydrogen really   won't make much of an impact, and I wonder if you  can resolve this or at least where you would cast   your vote on this question. What  role is hydrogen set to play in   Australia's energy transition and how do  you see it playing off with electrification? Melinda, thank you, and thank you for the  invitation to be here. I don't have any doubt that   it's a false dichotomy to play off electrification  against green gas or green hydrogen. We need all  

the weapons at our disposal in order to ensure  the transition. Australia's been doing that   certainly as, of course, Germany and other  countries. In Australia, we've embarked on a   fairly remarkable energy transition, beginning  with the electricity sector. We see that as   the most important place to stay ?? to start,  and we've been deploying at record levels of   variable renewable energy electricity. Solar  and wind last year. Approximately 26% of all   of our electricity was generated from solar  and wind. And we're very pleased with the fact   that we now have the highest installed solar  generation capacity per person in the world by   quite a large margin and we have the highest  percentage of solar rooftops in the world.  

We expect this transition in the electricity  sector to continue pace. Investors are keen.   The commitment to eliminating emissions in  the electricity sector makes sense because   clean electricity will be key to successful  decarbonization of the other big sectors,   as we've heard, such as transport,  building heating and industrial processes.   And collectively, the use of fossil  fuels today for all of these purposes   rent rates three?quarters of the global greenhouse  gas emissions, so replacing fossil fuel use with   clean electricity and clean hydrogen is the way  to start. It's the best return for our effort. But  

even though the electricity is almost like magic,  it's not always the most convenient way to deliver   energy. And sometimes we need a high?density  fuel, and I would argue that the role for hydrogen   and its derivatives will be significant in the  heavy?duty long?haul trucks and trains and ships.   For Australia and for other countries, the ability  to trade renewable energy between the continents   in the same way that we have been trading fossil  fuel energy between the continents, that ability   to trade across the planet will need a way to  package renewable energy for shipping. And, of   course, in these cases, the solution is hydrogen  and its derivatives such as clean ammonia.   In 2019, the Australian government released our  National Hydrogen Strategy, and the congratulate   Germany for the release of yours last year. Our  strategy envisions multiple roles for hydrogen  

in Australia's energy transition. Domestically,  we will use hydrogen for industrial feed stocks   and for heating. We'll blend it into the gas  networks, and we'll use it for long?distance   heavy?duty transport. But, of course, as  an export, we will build on our willingness   to take on huge projects. Become a hydrogen  powerhouse, shipping sunshine to the world.  We're not stopping there, though. You need  to use every tool available. So, last year  

I had the honor of leading the development  of the Australia's low emissions technology   roadmap. And in that is our first installment. We  have prioritized five low?emissions technologies   and set financial stretch goals to  focus investments by the governments   and the private sector to get the costs of these  technologies down. So, one example, clean hydrogen   is actually part of the low?emissions technology  roadmap and the focus on reducing the cost   to under 2 dollars Australian per kilogram,  which would be under $1.50 US per kilogram.   Our other five priorities such as electricity from  storage and zero?emission steel. So, to finish,  

let me say that it's clear, Australia, we  see clean hydrogen as key to the transition   to zero a missions across the economy, but as  a compliment to electrification. And together   clean electricity and clean  hydrogen, indeed, are the panacea. Thank you very much. And I know that Australia is,  in fact, involved in a green hydrogen cooperation   with Germany. So, many thanks to you. Ladies  and gentlemen, we are really actually already  

out of time. This is a very short session.  I'd like to ask each of you in one phrase,   literally less than 30 seconds each, to tell  me what you see as the biggest challenge to   this complimentarity between electrification and  green hydrogen? You've said we need to use all the   tools in the toolbox. What's the single biggest  challenge. One phrase only. Claudia Kemfert? Green electricity technology is valuable  and must be used everywhere. Hydrogen is the   champagne and only used for special occasions. Dr. Crane: Thank you very much. Alix Chambris? Yes. So, we agree that green electricity  and green gas, especially hydrogen,  

are the panacea of the energy transition, but  what we saw the biggest challenge is to secure   the space heaters in the buildings and global  building stocks. So changing gas mix. And for us   ensuring hydrogen revenues of  space heaters is a no regret move. Thank you very much. Dr. Finkel, if you would. For complex economy we need to have multiple  solutions at disposal. We shouldn't pick winners.   We have to focus on carbon dioxide  into the atmosphere rather than   choosing and focusing on favorite  technologies. It's emissions that count. Thank you very much to all three  of you for this very succinct,   very, very interesting exchange. I appreciate you  

being with us and also your patience with  our very short timeframe. Many thanks.

2021-03-25 16:53

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