Reports & Papers

36 Items

Wind turbines at Biedesheim, Germany.

Karsten Würth

Paper

Deploying Energy Innovation at Scale for a Low-Carbon Economy: The Private Sector Role - ENGIE

| September 2020

Innovation will be critical in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement requires reworking our existing energy infrastructure, but it is easier said than done. Rethinking energy systems hinges on reconciling the interests of many existing stakeholders: investors, banks, governments, energy companies, and consumers. Developing and fostering new ideas is the first step toward illuminating the frontiers of what is possible.

Shanghai, China

Li Yang / Unsplash

Report

Is China's Hydrogen Economy Coming?

| July 28, 2020

This paper focuses on China and the potential role of renewable hydrogen in accelerating its transition to a low-carbon economy. Our research goal is to provide policymakers and other stakeholders the means to make informed decisions on technology innovation, policy instruments, and long-term investments in enabling infrastructure.

One of the parabolic mirrors arrays at the Shams-1 concentrated solar power plant in the UAE, January 2015.

IRENA photo, CC by-nc-sa 2.0

Report

Green Ambitions, Brown Realities: Making Sense of Renewable Investment Strategies in the Gulf

| March 2020

Gulf countries have hailed their investments in renewable energy, but some basic questions remain about the extent to which it makes sense for GCC states to invest aggressively in renewables. The sheer magnitude of such investments will require these countries to mobilize significant public resources.  Therefore, such an assessment requires these countries to focus on national interests, not just a desire to be perceived as constructive participants in the global transition away from carbon energy. 

This report starts by identifying four common strategic justifications for investing in renewable energy in GCC countries. Each of these rationales highlights a different aspect of renewable energy investments. In addition, each rationale is based on different assumptions about the underlying drivers of such investments, and each rationale is based on different assumptions about the future of energy. 
 

A photo of electrolysis in action. (Flickr: ca_heckler)

Flickr: ca_heckler / CC by-nc-nd 2.0

Report

Geopolitical and Market Implications of Renewable Hydrogen: New Dependencies in a Low-Carbon Energy World

| March 2020

To accelerate the global transition to a low-carbon economy, all energy systems and sectors must be actively decarbonized. While hydrogen has been a staple in the energy and chemical industries for decades, renewable hydrogen is drawing increased attention today as a versatile and sustainable energy carrier with the potential to play an important piece in the carbon-free energy puzzle. Countries around the world are piloting new projects and policies, yet adopting hydrogen at scale will require innovating along the value chains; scaling technologies while significantly reducing costs; deploying enabling infrastructure; and defining appropriate national and international policies and market structures.

What are the general principles of how renewable hydrogen may reshape the structure of global energy markets? What are the likely geopolitical consequences such changes would cause? A deeper understanding of these nascent dynamics will allow policy makers and corporate investors to better navigate the challenges and maximize the opportunities that decarbonization will bring, without falling into the inefficient behaviors of the past.

A windmill does its work in Stetson Mountain, Maine, July 19, 2009.

Robert F. Bukaty (AP)

Report - Breakthrough Energy

Advancing the Landscape of Clean Energy Innovation

| Feb. 01, 2019

The Energy Futures Initiative and IHS Market organization recently released a report on the future of clean energy in the United States. In this co-authored foreword to the report, Ernest Moniz gives a snapshot of the challenges clean energy faces in the U.S., as well as the ways that it can continue to move forward:

"In this report we convey the need for a comprehensive approach involving both public and private sectors in order to expand the current landscape of clean energy innovation and accelerate its processes [...] We see this report as a contribution to a continuing national dialogue and hope that it will stimulate further discussion, understanding, and action."

Report: More Climate Change Recognition, Action Among Major Investors

Free-Photos/Pixabay

Report - Axios

More Climate Change Recognition, Action Among Major Investors

| May 10, 2018

Since the Paris Agreement's adoption in 2015, a majority of the world's largest investors have begun to take action on climate change. According to a new report, the 2016–2017 year showed an average improvement in decarbonization within all major investor categories except pension funds.

visitors tours the BYD Co. booth displaying an electric vehicle with a charger at the Shanghai International Auto Show

AP/Andy Wong

Paper - SAE International

Recycling-Based Reduction of Energy Consumption and Carbon Emission of China's Electric Vehicles: Overview and Policy Analysis

    Authors:
  • Fuquan Zhao
  • Zongwei Liu
  • Han Hao
| Apr. 03, 2018

Electric vehicles maintain the fastest development in China and undertake the responsibility of optimizing energy consumption and carbon emission in the transportation field. However, from the entire life cycle point of view, although electric vehicles have a certain degree of energy consumption and carbon emission reduction in the use phase, they cause extra energy consumption and carbon emission in the manufacturing phase, which weakens the due environmental benefits to some extent. The recycling of electric vehicles can effectively address the issue and indirectly reduce the energy consumption and carbon emission in the manufacturing phase. China is setting up the recycling system and strengthening regulation force to achieve proper energy consumption and carbon emission reduction benefits of electric vehicles.

Solar panels at sunrise.

Karsten Würth

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Geopolitics of Renewable Energy

| June 28, 2017

For a century, the geopolitics of energy has been synonymous with the
geopolitics of oil and gas. However, geopolitics and the global energy economy
are both changing. The international order predominant since the
end of World War II faces mounting challenges. At the same time, renewable
energy is growing rapidly. Nevertheless, the geopolitics of renewable
energy has received relatively little attention, especially when considering
the far-reaching consequences of a global shift to renewable energy.

The paper starts with a discussion of seven renewable energy scenarios
for the coming decades: the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2016, the EIA’s
International Energy Outlook 2016, IRENA’s REmap 2016, Bloomberg’s
New Energy Outlook 2016, BP’s Energy Outlook 2016, Exxon-Mobil’s Outlook
for Energy 2016 and the joint IEA and IRENA G20 de-carbonization
scenario.

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

American Nuclear Diplomacy

| August 4, 2016

In this report, American Nuclear Diplomacy: Forging a New Consensus to Fight Climate Change and Weapons Proliferation, Former Deputy Secretary of Energy and Belfer Center Senior Fellow Daniel Poneman writes that we face two existential threats: nuclear annihilation and catastrophic climate change. Each, he says, stems from human origins. Both must be fought aggressively.

"Multiple studies confirm the grim truth that, even if all nations fulfill their Paris Climate Agreement emissions pledges, the world will still far overshoot the 2°C warming limit scientists say we must not exceed to prevent devastating climate impacts. Carbon-free nuclear energy can help close the gap. But can we expand its environmental benefits without increasing the risks of nuclear terror?"

Poneman outlines a diplomatic strategy and tough-minded, bipartisan policies to get us there.

teaser image

Paper

Crafting Usable Knowledge for Sustainable Development

| 2016

This paper distills core lessons about how researchers (scientists, engineers, planners, etc.) interested in promoting sustainable development can increase the likelihood of producing usable knowledge. We draw the lessons from both practical experience in diverse contexts around the world, and from scholarly advances in understanding the relationships between science and society.