The Sustainable Energy Challenge – global outlook for energy


Internationally, there is an increasing imperative for clean, secure and efficient energy supplies. As the population increases, the demand for energy is growing around the world. The global demand for electricity alone is expected to double over the next 25 years. Developing nations are driving the growth in energy demand.

For example, in China demand for electricity increased by over 10% in 2002 alone. The resultant pressure on China’s energy infrastructure has led to more frequent disruptions to the supply of electricity, resulting in a range of measures to curb growing demand. With fossil-fuel prices expected to remain comparatively low, it is projected that the majority of growing energy  demand will be met from supplies of oil, natural gas and coal. This increasing reliance on fossil fuels for energy will lead to a significant growth in greenhouse pollution, a key contributor to climate change. In addition, dependence on imported fuels leaves countries vulnerable to political instabilities that could lead to disruptions in energy supply.

For businesses operating in a highly competitive global environment, there are pressures to maximise operational efficiencies to increase productivity and performance, including increasing energy productivity. As the imperative for clean, secure and efficient energy supplies grows, there are a range of opportunities emerging globally. In response to climate change concerns, over 70 countries have now ratified the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol commits these countries to take action to reduce greenhouse pollution.

The Protocol is creating a significant market for sustainable energy technologies, which will drive the development of new industries. One such industry is the renewable energy industry which is growing rapidly. The global wind energy industry generated turnover of $11.5 billion in 2002, and supported 95 000 jobs. This is projected to grow to a $127 billion industry by 2020, with the potential to employ 1.8 million people. Meeting energy demand in a sustainable way is a significant global challenge.

Courtesy of Victoria Government Australia – Sustainable Energy