Keeping eye on the ball – world energy production is growing

The world’s demand for energy production and consumption continues to grow – it’s time to act now to ensure a sustainable future for the next generations.

At the end of August, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published a comprehensive global report on energy data. I would like to highlight some of the numbers and explain where ABB is looking. For all players in global energy game it is right time to keep eye on the ball.

According to IEA, world energy production is growing 1.5% from 2013 to 2014 reaching 13,800 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe). This is not good news. What is even more worrying is the fact that fossil fuels account 81% of this. If this development continues also in 2015 and 2016, there is an urgent need for all actions mapped in Paris climate conference (COP21) last year.

Here in ABB we are taking action. Let me explain some of the key actions we have done to make a better world. I am working with high efficiency motors and variable speed drives, the key components in processes across industries. Industry makes around 40% of all electricity consumption, so there’s a fair reason to take a closer look.

ABB’s installed base of drives is the biggest in the world, we are the market leader. In 2015, we estimate our installed base of drives is saving 490 TWh, equivalent to the consumption per year of more than 120 million European households. If that 490 TWh would have been generated by fossil fuel powered electricity plants, ABB drives reduced CO2 emissions in 2015 by about 410 million tonnes, corresponding with the yearly emissions of over 100 million cars.

One might think this is good enough. For us it is not. We would like to see more active regulation policies to boost drives penetration together with penetration of high efficiency motors. Our CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer emphasized this message last year in Paris during COP21. Technologies to secure sustainable future already exist.

Another key to the global energy dilemma is utilization of renewable energy. In energy production, renewables clear the air. According to IEA, production of renewable energy is growing fast with hydro, wind and solar PV accounting for around 3.4% of global energy production. On top of our ABB Drives factory here in Helsinki we have 181 kW solar power plant to support our manufacturing facility with clean energy. Generating clean energy and using it in an efficient way is ABB’s solution to environmental challenges. We’re keeping our eye on the ball.


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About the author

Jukka Tolvanen

Born in 1969 in Joensuu, Finland, Jukka Tolvanen studied electrical engineering at the University of Technology in Helsinki, where he received his master's degree in 1996. Tolvanen joined ABB Drives as a trainee in 1993 and full time employee in 1996. He has had several managerial positions in R&D, sourcing, sales and product management and marketing. Currently Tolvanen enjoys his time studying energy efficiency full-time. Jukka blogs about energy efficiency related matters in English and in Finnish.
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