Energy bible names the 'what'; next up is the 'how'

Let us look for synergy and address various problems at once. This is the inspiring message of the Global Energy Assessment, a voluminous report addressing all aspects of the global energy system. It is therefore also referred to as the 'energy bible'. The GEA was realised with the efforts of about 300 researchers worldwide. ECN colleagues have also contributed, and ECN and PBL jointly organised the Dutch launch of the ‘energy bible’ last September.

More than one road to Rome

In the run up to 2050, we are faced with many challenges: affordable energy for the future 9 billion inhabitants of our world; access to modern and clean types of energy for the poorest; an acceptable level of security of energy supply; dealing with air pollution; and last but not least, the combat of climate change. A powerful message of GEA is that there is more than one road that leads to Rome. There are choices that can be made.

Cost of choices

Negative choices do have negative impacts. If we were to dismiss CO2 capture and storage, for example, or if we would opt for limited biomass deployment, this would lead to significant cost increases. In addition, GEA does not beat around the bush about the fact that huge efforts need to be made to realize the formulated targets and that measures are needed from day one onwards.

Unanswered questions

The GEA delivers many answers to the question what is needed. However, numerous questions still remain unanswered, particularly when it comes to how things should be arranged.  I will name a few. How do we create a sense of urgency that is able to get the energy challenges high on the agenda? Are sufficient investments being made in energy innovation?  Aren’t there too conflicting interests between the advocates of renewable energy and those earning a living with fossil energy? Who will pay the upfront costs of the energy transition? Is the report overly optimistic about policy? These are all comprehensive questions.

Synergy for energy

Many people in the field of energy are busy answering these questions, both entrepreneurs and researchers. Together we can realise the required synergy. Solving energy issues is core business for ECN. Hundreds of ECN employees are working on this enthusiastically. Will you join us?

Remko Ybema is unit director at ECN Policy Studies. Would you like to respond to this blog? Send him an e-mail.