Many developing countries are faced with the challenge of coming up with a sustainable energy resource mix that will enhance their development. A number of energy choices are available, that is fossil fuels, nuclear energy and renewable energy. The choice of any of these energy sources should be informed by implications, environmental implications and their sustainability. This paper analyses the implications of using each of these energy types. It identifies strengths and weaknesses of each energy type.
Finally, a balanced and appropriate energy mix , which emphasizes the need to explore renewable sources of energy, is recommended for Belina. Africa contributes 7% of the world’s energy and it consumes 3% of it, and this should be further enhanced for development (ISCU, 2007). Efficient energy is part of our day to day life, as it drives the economy of nations. With fossil fuel becoming increasingly unavailable, there is need for diversification of energy supply for the world, particularly in Africa, while recognizing the need for compliancy with sustainable development strategy.
With the world watching the issue of climate change closely (which is directly related to energy utilization), energy choices made by any particular country will contribute to the overall commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To understand the implications of adopting specific energy types and policy mechanisms needed, there is need to first have a thorough analysis of the implications of each of the energy types. The analysis will be limited to three options, based on the interests of the country.
These options are fossil fuels, nuclear energy and renewable sources. Fossils Fuels Fossil fuels, also known as carbon-based energy sources, consist of mainly petroleum, natural gas and coal. According to a European Union report on Sustainable power generation from fossil fuels, the growing total energy production worldwide is expected to rely increasingly on fossil fuels at least till 2050, particularly in a number of key geo-economic areas.
Fossil fuels have however been identified as the most critical cause of global warming, since all use of fossil fuels leads to CO2 emissions. Therefore, if fossil fuels are to continue playing their valuable role in the energy production, appropriate mechanisms must be put in place to limit the impact of their use to levels that conform with sustainable climate objectives. Because coal is the type of fossil fuel used in electricity production, this analysis will not discuss other types of fossil fuels.
Coal Traditionally, coal has been used in power production. This trend is expected to continue over the next several decades. The EU report indicates that most of the future growth in energy consumption in a number of large emerging economies is expected to be met from coal, with two-thirds of the increase in global coal coming from China and India. It is estimated that, by 1997, every week, a new coal-fired power plant was put into operation somewhere in the world (EU, 1997).
It is therefore expected that coal will continue supplying about a quarter of global primary energy needs. As global primary energy consumption increases, so will the use of coal. With current technologies, this would result in a 20% increase in global CO2 emissions by 2025 (EU, 1997). Two-thirds of this increase would arise in developing countries, such as Belina. The main problem with coal is that it is the most carbon intensive, and therefore releases most of the CO2.