Energy Use_its Politics and Economics Compared_Scotland_South Africa_Spain

Essay prepared as part of an MSc in Renewable Energy Development
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   Linda Forbes G11EC – Energy in the 21 st Century 1   Comparative Study Energy Use, Politics and Economics   ScotlandSouth AfricaSpain Linda ForbesModule G11ECEnergy in the 21 st CenturyLecturer: Dr Sandy KerrSubmitted 5 th December 2008 MSc Renewable Energy DevelopmentICIT/Heriot-Watt University   Linda Forbes G11EC – Energy in the 21 st Century 2   Introduction This assignment explores and compares energy-use patterns within and between threecountries of the author’s choosing: namely Scotland, South Africa, and Spain. It discussesthe influential factors on past, current, and future energy supply and demands; beforereviewing policies and processes which are expected to deliver their country’s future energyneeds, particularly electricity. The linking theme between these three countries is theirtraditional dependence on coal-mining, be that historic (as in the case of Scotland and Spain)or current (as in South Africa), and how, these countries, each with very different political andeconomic environments, are moving towards a lower-carbon renewable energy future. Scotland   Coal mining, possibly Scotland’s oldest major industry 1 , stretching back to the 12 th century,required substantial investment post-World War II consisting as it did of fragmented privately-owned operations with little money. To achieve this, the industry was nationalised in 1947under the banner of the National Coal Board, finally returning to the private sector followingthe miners’ strike of 1984. Scotland’s last deep mine, Longannet, closed in 2002 2 , whereasScottish Coal exploits around 4 million tonnes of coal 3 annually at a number of opencast sitesin the Central Belt.Scotland’s second energy windfall, in the form of oil, was as a consequence of the firstdiscoveries in the North Sea in 1965 4 , with strikes in the Forties and Brent fields thereafter.The optimism and expectation of prosperity arising from these finds were key features of thisperiod, with ‘It’s Scotland’s oil’  becoming the rallying cry of the SNP as calls forindependence from the Union reached their height.The face of the British energy industry began to change in the 1980s when British Gas wasprivatised by the Thatcher government, then followed by the break-up and sale of the CentralGenerating Board and regional electricity boards in the 1990s, and culminated in the sale ofBritish Energy, owner of UK nuclear power plants, to Electricite de France (EDF) in 2008.Fulfilling a Labour Party manifesto promise of 1997, devolution was granted to Scotlandfollowing a positive referendum of the Scots; with the Scottish Parliament coming into beingin 2000. Westminster reserved to itself a range of portfolios subject to UK-wide decision-making, whilst others became the responsibility of the devolved authority under the ScotlandAct. Although responsibility for legislation on energymatters lies with Westminster, the ScottishExecutive (or Government, as it has renamed itselffollowing the SNP’s ascension post-election) hassubstantial influence, using its devolved powers tomanage the planning regime. A clear example is thedifferences between UK and Scottish parliamentswith regard to the building of new nuclear reactors. South    Africa   5 Founded as a state in 1910 6 , some years after theSecond Boer War between Britain and Dutchsettlers, it was not until 1994 that the first multi-racial   Linda Forbes G11EC – Energy in the 21 st Century 3  elections took place, thereby returning the ANC (African National Congress) Party to powerand effectively marking the end of apartheid between indigenous and immigrant populations.Two years later the South African Constitution was approved, which enshrined the concept ofa central government underpinned by nine provincial ones.Endowed with substantial coal and uranium reserves, South Africa’s reliance on energy fromcoal increased during the apartheid years as sanctions constrained the availability ofpetroleum products from overseas. The Fischer-Tropsch 7 process, which converts coal andgas to liquid fuels, was commercialised by Sasol 8 from the 1950s – then a state-ownedorganisation, now privatised. Spain   9 Spain, as sovereign state, comprises a number ofautonomous regions with their distinctive characters.Each has their own government, with varyingdegrees of autonomy and economic success.Regions such as Catalonia and Asturias haveindustrial histories in engineering, shipbuilding, andcoal mining, whereas Andalucia is focused onagriculture. Internal tensions exist: the BasqueCountry seeks complete independence from theSpanish government in Madrid, punctuated by violentattacks on politicians, the judiciary, and tourists.The economic history of Spain was of a feudalpeasantry linked to the fortunes of the ‘latifundista’  aristocracy and monarchy: that is, untilCivil War broke out in 1936 between General Franco’s Nationalist forces and those of theelected Republicans, and which resulted in Franco’s dictatorship of nearly 40 years. Duringthis period, and particularly after the Second World War (when Spain remained a neutralcountry, in name at least) there was significant economic growth – a key feature being thebuilding of the tourist industry to attract foreign currency. Since the death of Franco in 1975and the return to democracy with a constitutional monarchy, Spain has enjoyed furthereconomic growth, joining the EU in 1986 and the Euro in 1999.   Linda Forbes G11EC – Energy in the 21 st Century 4   Key energy comparisons The data below are extracted from IEA Energy Statistics 2005 tables for the United Kingdom,South Africa, and Spain. Some indicators relate closely but of those which differ particularattention is drawn to the CO 2  /GDP value for South Africa – being four to six times that of UKand Spain: this could indicate manufacturing processes are more inefficient in South Africa,or that GDP creation in Spain and the UK is less energy intensive i.e. services industries vmining operations. It could also reflect the fact that electricity in South Africa is generatedusing fuels which emit more CO 2 . The differences between South Africa’s TPES/GDP andTPES/GDP (PPP) indicators and those of the UK and Spain confirm that each dollar earnedby South Africa requires expenditure of more primary energy. *TPES – Total Primary Energy Supplied; GDP – Gross Domestic Product; PPP – Purchasing Power Parity United Kingdom South Africa Spain   Future demands None of the countries being studied are energy reserves independent, therefore energyefficiency improvements and reductions in emissions intensity are essential weapons inminimising energy insecurity, the need for additional generating capacity, and ultimately, theburning of fossil fuels. If demand can be subdued by thoughtful innovation then renewableenergy is more likely to be able to meet a larger percentage of their energy needs in future.South Africa’s target is 13% reduction in energy demand through efficiencies, whereasScotland and Spain are constrained by the EU Directive on energy end-use efficiency andenergy services with its 9% target by 2015. All must consider the key sectors to addressnamely buildings – in use (heating/cooling) and in construction (embodied energy ofmaterials/curing of cement); industry and commerce – their design and manufacturingprocesses, and transport – public transport systems, development of alternative fuels andmotive power, and more efficient vehicles. As fossil fuel resources reach the point ofdepletion, those remaining should be reserved for uses which maximise their uniquecharacteristics, rather than burning them as fuel.
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