Energy Permanent Monitoring Panel

Report of the Permanent Monitoring Panel on Energy, 2012

Carmine Difiglio, Robert Schock, William Barletta[1]

 

2012 Plenary Sessions of the 45th Session of the Seminars on Planetary Emergencies

 

The Energy PMP organized eleven plenary-session presentations in two topics: “Global Nuclear Energy Issues and “Energy and Sustainability in Cities”.  

 

Global Nuclear Energy Issues

 

A lively plenary morning session on the 21st August covered Global Nuclear Energy Issues. The outlook of nuclear power in the USA, Japan, China, Europe and the Middle East was each covered in five separate papers; also an IAEA paper on ‘‘World Outlook for Nuclear Power after Fukushima’’ was presented. The following debate considered that the Fukushima event did deliver a serious blow to the future development of nuclear power in the European Union, also the US, where the public opinion has turned hostile to nuclear development and the cost of the facilities has significantly increased due to more stringent safety and regulatory requirements. Contribution of existing plants in Japan and Germany was severely restricted because of this event. However, nuclear prospects in China, Korea, India, Russia and other rapidly developing economies in Asia and the Middle East are not likely to be negatively affected. These countries are pursuing their nuclear power agenda with the same past vigour. Their investment costs are less than those expected in OECD countries. Still it is predicted that the present global contribution of nuclear to electric power, presently 15%, is going to be gradual and will slightly decline over the years in the foreseeable future. The session also discussed the economics of ‘‘Nuclear Power in a Liberalised Power Sector’’ with the outlook that the private sector is not going to seriously consider investing in nuclear power, not only due to its cost and long implementation time, but also due to regulatory and policy uncertainties. While the substantial capital requirements for nuclear power are not easy to mobilise, the outlook for nuclear power is promising in many Asian countries where nuclear reactors are estimated to be more competitive than in the U.S., Europe or Japan and where private financing is less important. The increasing supplies of shale gas, in the US, and potential increase of natural gas supplies in many other countries are encouraging the development of combined-cycle gas turbine plants by private and public investors. It is reckoned that without state involvement and funds, nuclear power is not likely to expand.

 

Energy and Sustainability in Cities

 

A special afternoon session was devoted to the subject of Energy and Sustainability in Cities. Urbanisation is increasing rapidly in almost every country of the world, but especially Asia and Africa. Large cities with over one million are becoming common and the number of megacities, of over ten million inhabitants, is increasing rapidly. They demand enormous amounts of energy and other resources and services. Cities are complex systems and require sophisticated planning not only in their growing energy systems, but also in other vital and related services like water, sanitation and control of pollution. A Seminar Workshop took place in the morning of the 24th in which this complex issue of meeting energy requirements and emissions reduction in cities was discussed. This subject is likely to be pursed in the future seminars.

 

Energy PMP Meeting, August 2012

 

The annual meeting of the Energy PMP was organized and chaired by Bruce Stram.   It consisted of 9 presentations with discussion, revisions to the Energy PMP website and priority setting for 2013.

 

Presentations

 

  • Fusion Update                                                                                 Jef Ongena
  • Japanese Energy Research Update                                              Jef Ongena for Akira Miyahara
  • Energy Subsidies                                                                             Hisham Khatib and Carmine Difiglio
  • Potential for Renewable Technologies                                     Hisham Khatib
  • Potential Oil Recovery from Existing Fields                            Adnan Shihab-Eldin
  • Energy Democracy in Japan                                                           Tatsuo Masuda
  • China Automotive Energy Outlook                                                 Zhang Xilang
  • Insurance Value of Energy R&D                                                      Robert Schock
  • Japanese Energy Decisions                                                            Richard Wilson

 

Energy PMP Website

 

Robert Schock and Carmine Difiglio provided an update on the revised Energy PMP website.  The Energy PMP now has a webpage on the World Federation of Scientists’ PMP page.  This new Energy PMP page contains general information about the Energy PMP and past activities.  It contains a link, now not functioning, to EnergyPMP.org that had been maintained by Richard Wilson.  We are now in a transition stage transferring the considerable content that had been contained in EnergyPMP.org to a new page that will be reorganized and maintained by Robert Schock with small annual financial support from the Energy PMP members.  We aim to have all the Energy PMP plenary papers from the 2012 Seminars and future seminars on the new website as well as many previous papers that we can assemble from World Federation of Scientists archives.  Discussions are continuing as to how the webpage will be organized.  We intend to provide a webpage that will build on the work of Professor Richard Wilson and expand the considerable readership that the past webpage enjoyed. 

 

2013 Energy PMP Priorities

 

The Energy PMP meeting concluded with a discussion of its 2013 priorities.  Members proposed the following possible activities for 2013:

 

  • Energy and cities
  • Insurance as the real climate change issue
  • New technologies for reducing GHG emissions
  • Biofuels – new technologies to use bio sources – higher efficiency – prepare proposal to use new technologies to be more economic
  • How do we integrate new sources of electricity into the grid?
  • End use efficiency improvements – what’s possible – lighting, motors – meet the gap, the cost to replace of old technologies
  • Safer, smaller, more economic nuclear reactors – assessment of those future nuclear reactor technologies
  • International nuclear safety regime – with international action team to support response to nuclear accidents
  • Scientific limits of renewable energy and renewable technologies
  • Economics of advanced energy technology deployment
    • Safety of Nuclear Power
    • Energy, Cities and Global Sustainability

 

In addition, it was agreed to contribute to Professor Zichichi’s Project for Man, a Centre to Study Planetary Emergencies.  It was announced that Professor Zichichi would ask the WFS members and, in particular, the PMPs for ambitious Centre proposals.  Resources would be available for permanent staff and significant research in areas that would mitigate the likelihood of planetary emergencies in line with the principals of the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture, the World Federation of Scientists and the World Laboratory.   The Energy PMP has defined the energy emergency as follows:

 

Energy supply affects economic growth, pollution, climate change & political tensions among nations.  Oil prices have been, & are likely to remain a major factor limiting global economic recovery.  Almost 20% of the world’s population (1.3 billion people) still lack electricity & basic energy services, without which, education, economic progress & political self-realization are barely possible.  While most OECD countries have vastly improved energy’s environmental footprint, energy production & use remain a major source of air & water pollution in many countries, severely compromising health & well-being.  Lastly, the burning of fossil fuels is the primary anthropogenic contributor to increased greenhouse gas concentrations.  Consequently, the Energy PMP monitors scientific results on the following subjects:

  • Energy efficiency technologies & policies
  • Renewable energy technologies & policies
  • Nuclear power technologies & policies
  • The international oil & gas markets
  • Energy services for the poor
  • Energy & cities
  • Technologies & policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions

It was agreed that the Energy PMP would work closely with colleagues in other PMPs and develop significant proposals for the Centre.

Update

Two Centre proposals have been submitted by the Energy PMP:



[1] The summaries of the 2012 Erice plenary sessions on Global Nuclear Energy Issues and Energy and Sustainability in Cities were provided by Hisham Khatib.