Oct 9, 2022
Keynote power panel "How Energy & Utilities leaders are leveraging technology to reduce their carbon footprint?"
Our executive director had the pleasure to represent Dii Desert Energy / Desertec3.0 during the Keynote power panel "How Energy & Utilities leaders are leveraging technology to reduce their carbon footprint?" at the GITEX GLOBAL, which is probably one of the largest #Tech events in the MENA region.
During the Q&A session, a lady asked if we were going in the right direction to reach net Zero by 2050: "Are we doing enough?"
"Are we installing enough renewable"?
His answer was that the energy transition started in 2005, and solar/wind tariffs became really competitive post 2015. So we're just at the beginning, we've been sleeping for decades and now we have only 28 years left.
300GW were installed last year, and despite raw material constraints, installed capacities are expected to rise again this year to around 320GW. To follow a 1.5°C scenario, we need to reach 1TW/y by 2030, and keep this number flat until 2050. Will we make it? We believe that's possible, the industry is certainly getting ready for that.
However, at the same time, the energy demand in emerging markets - which now represent 2/3 of our emissions - is skyrocketing. In 15 years, India has seen its electricity demand increasing by +250%. China by +350%. By comparison, the electricity demand in France increased by 350% in 30 years between 1970-2000. So the question is: how can renewable installations, and low carbon technologies, keep up with such trend?
In the past 15 years, the share of gas+coal in the power sector in India has not moved at all, despite progress on renewable. And while China has started to electrify its processes, that is not yet the case with India - Europe being also behind, like other OECD countries.
So the real answer is that no, we're not on the right track. The current situation in Europe is a stark reminder: we're still heavily dependent on gas for our industries and heating - in Germany, the steel industry is badly hit. And we haven't installed enough renewable in the past decade so even our power system is affected.
Can we change this situation? YES!
We have all the technologies to decrease by 50% our emissions within 10 years. For the other half, candidates are identified, but given the short timeframe a new approach of innovation and lab-to-market is required.
Recent policies in Europe, the US and China are certainly good first signals and we know what needs to be done.
The past decade was just a warm up and it's time to acknowledge the scale of the changes required and the short timeframe left, which oblige us to aggressively deploy all solutions: acceleration of renewable, massive electrification, mass producing EVs under raw material constraints, interconnexions, strategies to control our energy demand - where digital and data will play a big role with smart grids & metering, programmable systems - reorganize a bit our societies and transportation, and develop technologies to decrease our material and energy footprints. Among other actions...