Serving the world's growing electricity needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions is no fairy tale. This can be the new reality when we develop and enable power generation by a balanced mix of enewable energy sources.
In our daily life we rely on electricity for many of our activities. We simply expect electricity to be available. But, is it necessary to use fossil fuel-fired power plants, or can we look for alternatives? Do we need the current level of electricity consumption to maintain our comfort level? Or, can we increase efficiency by replacing inefficient equipment and better insulation of our buildings? Do we still need to drive cars with combustion engines or are there alternatives in electric transportation? Can we turn ourselves into producers of electricity?
These are just a few of the questions that might be asked, given the statement that emissions can be reduced by greater use of electricity. This report will give an outlook into the possibilities of different renewable energy sources (RES) portfolios and take a deep dive into floating offshore wind and smart grids.
For Europe we have developed scenarios where we evaluate the theme of a centralised versus a decentralised energy infrastructure. In the different visions we discuss the consequences of the balance between wind, solar, grid and backup power. We will also offer some insight into Japan's energy 'trilemma'. After the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster and the resulting shortfall in energy supply, the government faces apparently unsolvable challenges in energy. But there are options for a safer, smarter, greener society with and without nuclear power as the backbone of the transition.
Today, many initiatives are rushing to develop renewable energy sources. Not only wind and solar solutions, but also geothermal, wave, tidal, and hydro power. In this report we highlight one of these new developments: floating offshore wind energy. Why? Much of world's coastlines are steep, and thus not suitable for bottom-fixed wind turbines. Also, many large cities are located close to deep sea. In Japan, that includes cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, and Sapporo.
In our smart grid highlight, we demonstrate that part of the future as described in one of the European scenarios is already reality. In PowerMatching City in the Netherlands 40 households are participating in the world's first complete smart grid, fully equipped with smart meters, smart appliances, renewable energy sources and access to the market to trade electricity. This community lives the future, uses the grid as exchange platform, with only a minor impact on their personal lifestyle.
Why do we highlight the years 2030 and 2050? We have just 15 years before reaching 2030. If we want to develop smart appliances, install renewable energy sources and adapt legislation, 15 years is not
that long. In other words, we have to act now. The 20 years from 2030 to 2050 is the period needed to implement all initiatives and realise the cumulative effect of an electrified society.