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Celebrating one-year of reporting on the industry’s progress toward net zero
New Energy World
New Energy World embraces the whole energy industry as it connects and converges to address the decarbonisation challenge. It covers progress being made across the industry, from the dynamics under way to reduce emissions in oil and gas, through improvements to the efficiency of energy conversion and use, to cutting-edge initiatives in renewable and low carbon technologies.
Brave New Energy World – one year on
1 min read
Last year, the Energy Institute (EI) combined Energy World and Petroleum Review into a single digital, weekly publication with quarterly printed roundups. New Energy World aims to reflect the EI’s purpose of creating a better energy future and accelerating a just global energy transition to net zero. Senior Editor Charlie Bush reflects on some of the magazine’s key findings.
Since we launched New Energy World back in March 2022, we are proud to have published 149 feature articles, 81 comment pieces and a staggering 405 news items. We have covered developments across the globe, from new nuclear in Finland, to India’s e-vehicle sector, the Caribbean’s burgeoning solar industry, and green energy jobs in the US. A massive thanks to all our readers who keep themselves abreast of energy news through our stories.
From a glance over our archived content, it should be clear that there is no silver bullet solution to reaching net zero. Achieving this imperative target, and adapting the largely fossil fuel-based energy system the world relies on today, will require a broad spectrum of decarbonisation approaches and applications.
Technology is the great equaliser
Many of our articles reveal how innovative technologies are enabling the expansion of renewable energy into exciting new areas. Floating solar PV farms could eventually supply power to the more than 6,000 islands that make up Indonesia; creative wind-propulsion designs are helping to decarbonise global shipping; and plans are underway to connect renewable generation with hotspots for electricity demand thousands of miles away.
Besides developing new solutions, there are also opportunities to decarbonise the existing energy industry by improving its infrastructure and practices. We’ve reported on the crucial, and easily attainable way in which the oil and gas industry could significantly reduce its methane emissions on more than one occasion. Other articles have discussed the need to modernise hydropower stations across the globe and how the UK could increase building efficiency – both of which have the potential to substantially curtail greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
With so many bright minds focused on the same eventuality, there is hope that we can transition our energy system, which currently is responsible for some 75% of total GHG emissions, in time to save our planet from widespread environmental disaster. After all, in 2022, clean energy accounted for 70% of the energy sector’s growth around the world and utility-scale solar PV and onshore wind are the cheapest electricity generation options in the majority of places worldwide, according to the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency respectively.
With so many bright minds focused on the same eventuality, there is hope that we can transition our energy system, which currently is responsible for some 75% of total greenhouse gas emissions, in time to save our planet from widespread environmental disaster.
What is also clear from our articles is that the transition away from fossil fuels will bring significant co-benefits, creating more jobs, increasing energy security and providing millions of people with energy access for the first time.
Nowhere is this potential more advantageous than in Africa. The continent is home to 600 million of the world’s 775 million people without access to electricity, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa, and bringing them power must be a priority for the energy transition. But research shows that renewables could supply 80% of Africa’s new power generation by 2030 – if investment goes to solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal. Another article from April 2022 said something similar: ‘Models indicate that the best path to building the most cost-optimal energy system [in Africa] is to maximise the use of renewable energy.’
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made investing in Africa’s extensive hydrocarbon reserves more appealing. However, as ‘projects typically require several years’ lead time before production can begin, and a lifespan of at least 20–25 years to achieve economic viability’ according to another of our articles, this poses a serious risk of stranded assets.
The risk of stranded assets through investment in fossil fuel projects is not limited to the African continent, however. With evidence of a shift to renewables conspicuous around the globe, industry experts predict an acceleration in investment into renewables this year, with those most committed to the transition reaping the most benefits further down the line.
What’s next for New Energy World?
Despite all the progress and possibilities, one thing hasn’t changed since we launched New Energy World – the urgent need to decarbonise the energy sector. A 2021 World Meteorological Organisation report found that climate change and extreme weather events grew five-fold over the past 50 years, killing two million people, 91% of whom lived in developing countries.
This flagrant injustice will continue, and worsen, until we massively reduce our GHG emissions. And this will be impossible without pivoting away from fossil fuels, increasing renewable energy generation capacity backed up with storage, and continually improving how efficiently we use our energy.
Until then, New Energy World will continue to follow the twists and turns of the ever-changing energy transition, calling attention to the human aspect by sharing stories from some of the amazing people working in the sector and listening to the grassroots voices affected by or campaigning on the climate crisis. Check in every Wednesday for the latest updates.
We’d also love to hear your thoughts on our magazine. If you have any feedback, questions or requests, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org