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Proposed Study on Energy and Climate Change

Summary and Recommendation
Charge to Committee 1
Report of Committee 1
Member Academy Comments (anonymous)
Members of Committee 1

Summary and Recommendation
At the October 13, 2000, Council (then Governing Board) meeting, it was agreed that CAETS should consider undertaking a study on Energy and Climate Change and that a committee (Committee 1) be formed to prepare a scope of work on this subject. Subsequently, member academies were asked to suggest members for this committee. At its Helsinki meeting, June 11, 2001, the Council received a status report on the work of Committee 1. Its final report was submitted in November 2001. The Executive Committee met in December and agreed to ask member academies for their recommendations on further action. The Executive Committee met on May 26, 2002, reviewed the comments, and concluded that the comments from member academies represents insufficient support for CAETS to proceed with a study as proposed by Committee 1.

The Council at its meeting on August 27, 2002, agreed that the study as proposed by Committee 1 would not be undertaken. Further, the Council agreed that, in view of the recently initiated Euro-CASE study on Energy and Environment and the decision by NTVA, Norway, host of the 2004 CAETS Council meeting (May 28, 2004), to organize a seminar just prior to the CAETS Council meeting, May 26-27, on Energy and Environment, CAETS would collaborate with NTVA in its seminar with a view of contributing to the theme of the Committee 1 report. NTVA welcomed that collaboration.

Charge to Committee 1
Define the scope of work for the proposed project on Energy and Climate; ensure its usefulness for CAETS member academies, in light of other related study efforts underway and recently completed, and what is practicaland worthwhile for a CAETS group to successfully complete in a reasonable period of time.

Report of Committee 1
A Definition of the Scope of a CAETS Study on Energy and Climate Change

27 Nov. 2001

1.0 Why action by CAETS is needed.

An adequate, secure supply of energy is essential for the general well-being of society. Currently, great differences exist in the annual energy consumption rates of the various regions of the world, as shown in the following table (1GJ = 0.024 toe, or ton of oil equivalent):

North America: 360 GJ/year/capita = 11400 Watts (or 8.5 toe)
Europe, Japan: 190 GJ/year/capita = 6000 Watts (or 4.5 toe)
China: 40 GJ/year/capita = 1300 Watts (or 1 toe)
Africa, India: 25 GJ/year/capita = 600 Watts (or 0.6 toe).

The main drivers of the rapidly increasing, worldwide demand for energy are economic growth, as measured by GDP (Gross Domestic Product), and the growth of population. The generally accepted forecast is that the demand for primary energy over the next 100 years will increase by a factor 5 - 6. Most of this increased demand will come from the developing nations.

While the debate on the effects of burning fossil fuels as a source of energy on the earth's climate is still ongoing, it is clear that this large increase in the demand for energy will have to be supplied with the least impact on the environment. As wide a range of energy sources as possible needs therefore to be identified. New supply scenarios as well as greater energy efficiencies, are therefore required, which include different mixes of energy sources, based on economic conditions and, very importantly, technological opportunities. In order to develop such scenarios with a high degree of credibility, a great deal of information is required on new, energy related technologies. CAETS, through its member academies, is in an excellent position to provide this technical information and thus to fill a niche which until now has not gained the attention it deserves.

The objective of a CAETS study on energy and climate change should be therefore to report reliable and up-to-date information on the potentials of existing and new technologies, to be able to satisfy the projected world energy requirements. The report should include a discussion of the benefits, strengths and weaknesses of the technologies, as well as indicate their timelines, i.e. indicate which technologies will start to decline in the near future, and those that have the potential to meet the energy demands of the future.

2.0 What action can be undertaken by CAETS.

The principal goal of this paper is to define the scope of an Energy/Climate study by CAETS, which would make a significant contribution to the information base on future energy supply systems and their effects on society.

A sustainable, long-term energy strategy will rely heavily on the development of new technologies, or the further development of already existing energy related technologies, including the improvement of energy efficiency and conservation techniques.

The development of technology follows a well-defined pattern. It starts with an R&D program, which will be followed by a demonstration stage, then a learning or experience stage, and finally the commercial or production stage. The R&D costs tend to be high. At the demonstration stage unit costs start to decrease, allowing for the beginning of the learning or experience stage. The technologies under pinning the renewable energy sources (wind power, solar power and biomass) are probably at the learning stage, some approaching the commercial stage. During the commercial or production stage the investment costs can still be expected to fall, but now at a slower rate. It is through this quite well established cost pattern of developing new technologies that new technologies can eventually start competing with existing technology on a strictly economic basis.

An example of an energy technology still at the R&D stage, but about to move into the demonstration stage would be fusion technology. At the other end of the spectrum is the fully developed technology of the aero-derivative gas turbine. Originally designed as a jet engine for military aircraft, this "new" technology was adapted to an energy production application in the 1950s and became a commercial product in the energy sector around the mid-1960s. Up to that point in time the rate of cost reduction had been about 20% per doubling of production, but has changed to the 10% level when the aero-derivative gas turbine for energy conversion became fully accepted as a commercial product.

It may be of interest to note, that the investment costs of gas turbine engine power generation are still considerably lower than those for the renewable energy technologies, or for nuclear energy. The numbers in the table below have been calculated by IIASA and WEC, by averaging data from a large number of installations in many countries, and are only shown here to give an indication of relative investment costs, and not as actual cost figures:
US$ (1990)/kW

Simple cycle gas turbine 250
Wind power 1000
Biomass 1500
Nuclear 2000
Solar thermal 2500
Solar photovoltaic 4000

Accepting that the demand for primary energy will increase by as much as 600% in this century, the requirement for an expansion of energy choices, and at the same time improving energy efficiencies and conservation techniques, is very large indeed. The engineering challenges and the complexities of these technologies, which are necessary in order to realize a sustainable energy future, are equally large.

CAETS role would be to identify the most important energy related technologies, presently in either an R&D, or perhaps a demonstration or learning stage, and to provide the necessary information on these technologies required to develop a sustainable energy strategy.1).

The information required would include a thorough evaluation of the stage of the development of the technologies, estimates of the cost of energy production, availability (patents for instance), and examples of successful installations when available. Some case studies of introducing new technologies in established energy supply systems would also be of benefit.

3.0 How to achieve this.

The collective knowledge residing in an organization like CAETS, because of the members of its constituent academies, is vast. It will be desirable to identify at least two experts in every technology to be included in this CAETS study to form an experts panel, which will be tasked with the production of the report. Committee 2 has already developed a process for setting up a CAETS Working Group to oversee the project, and to review the results. It will be necessary for this Working Group to meet a number of times as a group, as well as with the experts panel.

Given that no new knowledge has to be developed, and that the study will be limited to the collection and reporting of the most reliable and existing facts and figures, a period of two years seems to be a realistic time frame to carry out this study. The study will require an overall editor to write an introduction and the conclusions and recommendations. As far as costs are concerned, assuming that the experts will contribute their time voluntarily, the major cost items will be travel and accommodation expenses for the Working Group, and the publication of the report.
Member Academy Comments (anonymous) On The Report of Committee 1
(Each number represents a different member academy)

1. Pleased to note that CAETS has prepared a credible world-view on this important topic, with sufficient detail.

2. CAETS will have this subject more or less as an ever-lasting project; we want to participate in further CAETS actions.

3. The paper defining the scope is generally supported and endorsed. There are a number of very competent well-resourced agencies examining “Climate Change”, and CAETS should not concern itself with this aspect. If the study moves into a second phase consideration should be given to amending the title. If the study goes ahead, it must take account of the authoritative work done, and reports issued.

CAETS most useful contribution will be the examination of existing and new energy technology, including enhancing the current methods of exploration, extraction, conversion and use of fossil fuels, improving the exploitation of renewable sources and the efficiency of end use. It is suggested that a CAETS study could also examine topics for research into energy technology in these areas, which are most likely to be fruitful.

Consideration must be given to the matter of the target recipients for any report by CAETS. It is suggested that this will initially be the member academies that would then use the report as appropriate with their national bodies. The report should aim to be informative and authoritative rather than suggesting future policy. We would agree to be involved in any Phase 2 of the study if at least half of the CAETS member academies are also willing to get actively involved and to commit resources to it.

4. We hope that numerous other countries will find the proposal valuable, and that CAETS will see fit to undertake a study along these lines. It would be difficult to find a more appropriate subject for the world engineering community to address. While we see the proposed activity as highly important, we believe that to conduct it properly will require considerable expertise and effort. There should be a search by CAETS for a collaborating international organization, with particular strength in the energy disciplines. The World Energy Council comes to mind in this respect, and there may well be others.

5. We fully agree with the text and the conclusion that CAETS, through its member academies, is in an excellent position to monitor and evaluate present and next technological opportunities. We consider important not to duplicate existing work.

Should CAETS reflect not only on electricity production but also on all uses -some of which are also highly technical- of fossil fuels responsible for CO2 emissions?

The proposal of CAETS is listing investment costs for several energy sources. The life expectancy of the new technologies is not mentioned. It is however important. For example when the energy used for manufacturing the hardware is included, the solar photovoltaic electricity can hardly be seen presently as a source of energy, given the yields and life expectancy of the cells (improving rapidly however). We suggest including life-cycle analysis in the information on new technologies.

A final remark can be made about the concept of sustainable energy strategies. The security of supply plays a role as determined by geopolitical considerations.
Is it worth including the security of supply in the technical review of the study?

6. We would like to suggest some amendments. The progress of gas turbine technology has brought considerably lower investment costs compared with other power generation systems. As a reference, IIASA and WEC have summarized investment cost on each power generation system, by just averaging data from a large number of installations in many countries. It should be noted that the energy supply costs are not uniform among countries or among regions, reflecting the diversity of energy quality and of socio-economic conditions.

We suggest deleting the table on investment costs in $/kwh for several energy sources. The energy supply costs are not uniform and will never be universal among countries or among regions, reflecting the diversity of energy quality and of socio-economic conditions and backgrounds such as regulations, etc. It means that externalities might be neglected in some of the generating technologies in the table. So, it seems to be not important to indicate such quantitative index as reduced from a simple gross average and maybe misleading.

7. Our opinion is to do the study proposed by Committee 1

8. We are prepared to participate in the study. There have been done many studies on the subject both in national and international organizations for instance in EU, IEA, WEC and UN. The challenge will then be to produce new knowledge.

9. Our comments are positive, and we believe CAETS can make an important contribution in this very critical area to achieve a really sustainable development. This can be done by defining the most relevant - existing or new - technologies, and by making an objective, knowledgeable and transparent use of the information that is needed to allow the development of sustainable energy strategies for our countries. Our Academy holds a favorable position in respect to the final scope defined for the CAETS document.

10. We have carefully reviewed the report/proposed project of Committee 1. It is our concern that the prospectus outlines a very generalized and broad study that will be difficult to undertake in the absence of a well-honed CAETS infrastructure to provide the administrative support. Moreover, the very breadth of the study makes one concerned that a well done, comprehensive report would require more than the two years suggested and would require funding in excess of $1 million, considering all the international travel that will be involved, particularly if all or most CAETS academies have a representative. As a practical matter, we believe it would be unwise for CAETS to pursue this study. At best, it is our suggestion that a small piece of the problem be addressed as a trial run.

11. This study would require so much resources that it is not possible to carry out in a feasible way without larger financing system. CAETS has the best experts in the world but the money plays the most decisive role.

12. The issue of energy, the future of energy supply and climate change is utterly important and should be, and in fact has been studied by many parties. Before CAETS chooses to embark on this project, it would be helpful to outline some of the risks involved.

First, an enormous amount of reliable and up-to-date information is produced worldwide. We refer to latest report of the UNDP World Energy Assessment, and activities done and/or reported by IEA. It will be very difficult to find a position within the whole range of suppliers of studies of the subject.

Second, the proposal of committee one has a very wide focus, which may increase the first risk mentioned. We would prefer a sharper focus, e.g. on the potential for technological development of energy sources, the prospects of extending the experience curves.

Third, it is not immediately clear why CAETS is the organization to launch this study. It should be discussed what unique role CAETS can play in a context with many other international organizations and initiatives. CAETS would have to seek its own legitimate role.
We are not sure how CAETS will handle these risks, so in first reaction it advises against launching the study.

13. We support the study with minor modifications in its scope.
a. The scope should include accelerator driven sub-critical systems as one possible system to generate electricity.
b. It would be desirable to talk of a range of costs rather than one cost for every energy system.

14. We are extremely interested in the proposed study and would like to start it as soon as ever possible.

15. We think that such a study could be very useful, but perhaps do not do this study, at least not now.

16. We feel that this is an important issue and consequently we are currently working in this area. As an organization of limited resources, we are at present fully occupied. We will most certainly share the results of our work in this area with others, but must decline any other engagements at present.

17. We consider that this is a most important subject and we feel that coordination between CAETS and Euro-CASE will be of interest for all concerned.

18. It is a wise decision that CAETS chooses the relation between energy consumption and climate change as its research target. As this issue has caused global environment change, it is worthy for the engineers and engineering scientists all over the world to pay attention to it. In this sense, CAETS can play a role in this stage. The study method by e-mail is efficient and feasible. We would like to ask one of our members to join this research group.

19. During the last decades, the consumption of energy has not been related to GDP or population growth, even though “an adequate, secure supply of energy is essential for the general well-being of society.” Hopefully in the long term, all regions of the world will tend to consume about 100 GJ/year/capita and the demand for primary energy over the next 100 years will increase only by a factor of 2. Most of this increased demand will come from the developing nations.

Many of us would like to see a change in the position of the Government of the United States about the effects of burning fossil fuels as a source of energy on the earth's climate. The Kyoto Protocol ought to be ratified.

Also, the environmental impact of any new supply scenarios must be taken into account. It is not possible to consider only “greater energy efficiencies, different mixes of energy sources, based on economic conditions and, very importantly, technological opportunities.”
The proposed objective, as stated, does not really considers properly the environment and even less the notion of climate change. The proposed study could be entitled on energy technology change, only.

I certainly agree that “a sustainable, long-term energy strategy will rely heavily on the development of new technologies, or the further development of already existing energy related technologies, including the improvement of energy efficiency and conservation techniques.” But, it is not enough, in my opinion.

One should move beyond the analysis based on the investment costs and consider life cycle costs and opportunities as well as to internalize environmental costs and opportunities. How could a study like the one proposed be more valuable than the World Energy Assessment, published in 2000 by UNDP, UNDESA and WEC?

20. CAETS is indeed in a good position to produce a major study on Energy/Climate based on the proposal by Committee 1. The focus on technological aspects is a very sound decision since here may be the real niche within the current energy debate. If the study should be a success, several prerequisites have to be fulfilled:
1. The scope shall be broad enough including energy needs, sources of energy (traditional and new), conversion processes, distribution and storage, energy use and efficiency.
2. While the main focus shall be on technologies themselves and their technical aspects, the assessment of benefits, weaknesses, timelines etc. have to be as exhaustive as possible regarding all three pillars of sustainable development.
3. That means to take fully into account many various aspects, e.g. regional differences, urban/rural, social implications, economic issues, political contexts, structure of governance.
4. The World Summit on Sustainable Development will almost certainly deal with energy issues. Watch closely the WSSD process and its results and shape the CAETS Study as an initiative within the framework of the so-called “Type Two” outcomes of the WSSD (see

Members of Committee 1

Canada: Jozinus (Joe) PLOEG
Engineering Consultant, R&D Management; Address; 21 Robin Crescent, Gloucester, Ont., Canada K1J 6J3; Tel: (613)-745-2390; fax: (613)-745-2852; e-mail:;

Australia: Dr. M. A. (Mike) SARGENT
Director, M.A.Sargent & Associates Pty Ltd; Address: c/o Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), P.O. Box 355, Carlton South, Victoria 3053, Australia; e-mail:;

Finland: K. Antero JAHKOLA
Emeritus Professor in Energy economics and power plant engineering, Helsinki University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering; Address: Valitalontie 61 A, FIN-00660 Helsinki, Finland; Tel. & fax: +358-9-7249144; Gsm: +358-50-5217521; e-mail:;

Japan: Prof.: Mamoru AKIYAMA
President, Saitama Institute of Technology; President, The Institute of Applied Energy; Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo; Address: The Institute of Applied Energy, 1-14-2, Nishishinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan, 105-0003; Tel: +81-3-3508-8891; fax: +81-3-3501-1735 e-mail:;

Japan: Dr. Keizo YAMAJI
Chairman, Nihon Tetra Pak K.K.; Address: Kioicho Fukudaya Bldg., 6-12 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8544 JAPAN; Tel. +81 3 5211 2002, fax +81 3 5211 2012, e-mail;

Korea: Prof. Soon Heung CHANG
Professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering; Address: Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), ?; Tel: ?; fax; ?; e-mail:;

Korea: Dr. Jang Gyu LEE
Professor, Seoul National University; Address: Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea; Tel +82 2 880 7308; Fax +82 2 878 8198; e-mail:;

Switzerland: Prof. Dieter IMBODEN
Professor of Environmental Physics; Address: ETH Zentrum, VOD, CH-8092 Z?rich, Switzerland; Tel. + 41 1 632 73 47; Fax + 41 1 632 10 69; e-mail:;

United Kingdom: Mr. Basil R. R. BUTLER
Chairman, KS Biomedix Holdings; Address: The Old Vicarage, Holbeton, Devon PL8 1LH, UK; Tel. (44) (0)1752 830216; Fax (44) (0)1752 830215; e-mail;

United States: Dr. Robert L. HIRSCH
Senior Staff Member, RAND; Address: RAND, 1200 South Hayes, Arlington, VA 22202-5050, USA; Tel 1-703-413-1100 ext. 5662; e-mail

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