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The term energy transition refers to overarching and pervasive change in an energy system. In the past, it has been applied to local changes, but from the advent of industrialization onwards, these shifts have increasingly become global. After various transitions from one set of fossil fuels to another over the course of the past century, there is currently a concerted effort to switch to renewable energy sources. To effectively reduce emissions, slow climate change and reduce the environmental impact of energy production, international initiatives at all levels of public life are necessary.

What has global energy transition achieved?

An energy transition to renewable sources has become the desired goal of governments around the world and is widely considered the ultimate path to a carbon-neutral future. Many countries are already implementing a switch to sustainable energy technologies, others have set ambitious targets or are planning a national energy transition. Renewable energies are currently estimated to make up a quarter of global electricity generation.

What’s next for global energy transition?

According to the International Energy Agency, the share of renewables in meeting global energy demand is expected to grow by one-fifth by 2023. In the electricity sector, they will provide almost 30% of power demand. The largest renewable source is hydropower (meeting 16% of global electricity demand by 2023), followed by wind (6%), solar PV (4%), and bioenergy (3%). However, an increased focus on other sectors, such as transport, heat, and industry, will be necessary to complete a successful energy transition. In addition, the resilience of energy systems needs to be examined to ensure energy efficiency and security of supply.

global share of renewable electricity 2017
global share of renewable heat 2017
global share of renewable transport 2017

Energy transition through energy storage

Although the benefits of renewable resources are undisputed and the necessity to increase their use is clear, the accompanying challenges cannot be ignored. Sustainable power production is still not close to covering demand. Once adequate supply is achieved, sustainable energy storage will be needed to balance out the inevitable fluctuations in renewable energy production, storing energy during peak times and distributing it as needed. MAN Energy Solutions is continually working on better, more efficient storage solutions to optimize the use of renewables.

Learn more about energy storage products

Energiewende – German for energy transition

The German term Energiewende (energy transition) describes a national energy policy guided by long-term sustainability goals and definitive emission-reduction measures. Combined heat and power (CHP) plants are one major puzzle piece in the big picture of 80–95% greenhouse gas reductions by 2050, outlined in 2010 legislation. MAN Energy Solutions contributed significantly to the conversion of the former coal-fired power plant Stuttgart-Gaisburg into a CHP plant that provides more energy, offers higher flexibility and generates lower emissions.

Learn more about energy transition in Germany

current renewables coverage in Germany
renewables goal by 2030 in Germany
record renewables coverage in Germany reported on one day in 2019

Nothing will be developed only for German energy transition. We need a much larger perspective – at least in Europe, if not the world market.

Matthias Zelinger, energy policy expert from the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association