Energy Transition podcast: Renewable energy
In this second edition of the Energy Transition podcast, Xavier Ramírez Veliz talks about the main benefits brought by renewable energy—as well as the challenges involved: where does renewable energy come from, what are its development possibilities and potential for sustainability.
"The Techint Group has taken a crucial step forward in setting up an Energy Transition unit which is gearing up to face challenges on several fronts. On one hand, it’s helping the Techint Group's operations to move towards decarbonization, and on the other, creating new businesses and new sources of income for Tecpetrol,” says Xavier Ramírez Veliz, Project Development Manager of the Energy Transition unit at Tecpetrol.
In this latest edition of the Energy Transition podcast, Xavier highlights the enthusiasm and motivation of a young and vibrant team with huge potential. They’re looking forward to deploying differentiated Energy Transition projects that add value and propel the Techint Group into a leadership position in the area as a whole.
This is a brief glossary sharing some of the main concepts Xavier explains in his podcast.
What do we mean by renewable energy?
Renewable energy is the type of energy that comes from sources that regenerate or renew themselves naturally, without human intervention. These are sources that, when used to produce electricity, do not emit either carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases.
What are the most common renewable sources?
The most common sources are solar (from the sun), wind, hydroelectric (rivers) geothermal (from the earth’s heat), and biomass, obtained from organic waste.
What is the share of renewable energies in the energy matrix?
Today, renewables represent between 10 and 15% of electricity production in the global energy matrix. However, the proportions vary in each country, according to the prevailing conditions and resources: for instance, there are hydrocarbon-producing countries that are more dependent on fossil fuels while others have plentiful water: Brazil, for instance, sources 70% of its power from hydroelectric sources. The UN climate change objectives and the changes that have to be made in order to meet them mean that solar and wind energy development and output are expected to double or triple in the next ten to twenty years.
How do renewables contribute to industrial decarbonization?
The electricity sector is vital for decarbonization. Electricity represents 20% of global energy consumption but is responsible for 40% of carbon dioxide emissions, which means that renewable energy sources are a fundamental pillar of the decarbonization process.
Other sectors such as transport also need to be decarbonized, and there are several actions underway to make the use of electric vehicles more widespread.
What are the main benefits of renewable energy?
One of the most important benefits of renewable energies is that they reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
Additionally, they’re highly versatile. As they are naturally sourced and renewable, as their name indicates, they are abundant and inexhaustible, found throughout most of planet earth, unlike other sources of energy obtained from extractive activities.
And what are the challenges involved?
- The land surface area required by renewable energy to be able to produce the same amount of energy as a conventional nuclear or gas plant.
- Intermittency: solar energy can only be produced when the sun is shining, and wind energy when the wind is blowing.
- Areas of good resources, such as deserts for solar, or Argentine Patagonia for wind energy, are a long way from the centers of consumption. Current electrical systems are designed to work off sources other than renewables, so more innovation is necessary to integrate flexibility and reliability into existing electrical systems, in addition to building new transmission lines to connect and transport the best renewable resources, all of which will be a major challenge.
- Energy has to be clean, economically viable, and reliable. Consumers must be able to access clean energy without this costing them more. This is why there is a commitment to generate demand, requiring governments and companies to create viable incentives so that consumers have a reason to demand this type of energy, making projects in this area feasible. We must create a virtuous circle in these sectors to make the widespread achievement of these specific objectives a reality.
What is the role of industry in this process?
Renewables are the basis for decarbonization and will be the mainstay of progress in this area for the next twenty years. These energies are already mature, already competitive and will kick-start the transition: they must, however, be complemented with other innovative energy solutions that are expected to emerge in the future.
LISTEN TO XAVIER RAMÍREZ VELIZ (IN SPANISH)
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