Blog 2: Energy transition has been taking place for centuries

20 July 2020

This is the second blog in a new series from Alasdair Green, a senior member of the AAB Energy Team and Head of E&P; “Balancing the Green Energy Agenda”. You can read the blog series from the beginning here

Energy transition is an ongoing and inevitable process that has been taking place for centuries. Globally, our primary and dominant source for energy until the early to mid-19th century was biomass (or wood).  This was replaced with coal throughout the 19th century, which was then replaced with oil and natural gas in the 20th century.  At the same time, and as a result of industrial development achieved with new and more versatile fuels, our energy consumption levels have soared. 

It is no coincidence that these dominant sources of energy all derived from bio-matter; either very recent living bio-matter such as wood or fossilised bio-matter such as coal, oil and natural gas.  These fuels are essentially the storage of solar energy captured over hundreds of millions of years (fossil fuels) and locking in carbon, the base element in their fabric.   

The problem with these traditional bio-matter based energy sources, as we are well aware is that when we use them, the locked-in carbon is released into the atmosphere quickly and in high volumes.  We have been aware of the greenhouse effect for decades and various initiatives to reduce our carbon emissions have had mixed success.   

Over the past two decades, the renewable energy sector has waxed and waned, but it has generally developed steadily and has had a massive surge of interest since 2018 due to public awareness and debate around issues such as energy transition, climate change and net zero targets.

The next topic in this series is Can a single new energy source replace fossil fuels? 

To discuss any points raised in this blog, or throughout the series, you can contact Alasdair directly by email or on LinkedIn. His details can be found here

To find out more about AAB's expertise and service offerings within the Energy sector, click here

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