Energy IQ: Consuming Twice As Much Electricity: Can We Do It Sustainably?

Consuming Twice as Much Electricity - Can We Do It Sustainably?

Increasing population, improved access to electricity and growing electricity demand in buildings will continue to increase the world’s electricity consumption. 

Did You Know: The world will consume twice as much electricity by 2050 1.

No, you didn’t misread the previous sentence. This eye-opening stat, however, is nothing new to those who monitor trends in electricity consumption. The world’s electricity production has already doubled between 1990 and 2015. What should matter most to you, your kids and grandkids is not “when” or “if” we’ll double our electricity production by 2050, but “how” we can double it in a sustainable manner.

As the Population Increases, So Will Electricity Consumption

Increased diversity in sources of electricity generation and adoption of distributed generation are components of a sustainable solution. But before we take a closer look at distributed generation and electricity diversity any closer, let’s examine “why” the world is forecasted to consume twice as much electricity by 2050. 

Access to electricity is essential in fostering more prosperous lives. It impacts a broad range of topics and industries ranging from healthcare, education and poverty reduction 2. Several countries have recognized the need for access to electricity and made progress over the last few decades.  

Electricity Access  by 2050Despite this progress, there are still more than one billion people around the world that do not have access to electricity 3. This is roughly 13% of world’s population, which sits at approximately 8 billion people. Combine a portion of this population gaining access to electricity with the forecasted increase in world’s population by two billion people over the next three decades, and two to three billion more people will have access to electricity by 2050. That’s two to three billion people who will have more prosperous lives. 

Meanwhile, for the more than six billion of us that already have access to electricity today, our electricity consumption per capita will change in the years ahead. Increased electrification in buildings and industry, combined with road transportation will continue to expand the demand for electricity. For example, buildings will need more electricity for space cooling and appliances as the living standards continue to improve around the world 4. On the other hand, technological advancements focused on efficiencies will reduce some of our consumption per capita. For example, use of LED light bulbs in recent years have successfully reduced our electricity consumption. 

Enter Distributed Generation and Electricity Diversity

As the demand for electricity continues to go up, producing electricity in a sustainable manner becomes even more critical. 

There are several advances taking place to sustainably fulfill this increasing demand. Diversity in the sources of electricity and distributed generation are two of these advancements. 

Electricity DiversityAn increase in the number of renewables being used for electricity generation is the first aspect of increased diversity in sources of electricity. In 1990, 99% of world’s electricity was generated using just five fuels: Coal, Oil, Gas, Nuclear and Hydro. Today, you can add wind, solar and biofuels to that mix. 

Renewables offer a near zero carbon and NOx footprint, and they reduce the carbon footprint of the overall electricity generation mix. Most experts agree that renewable sources are the final and preferred destination of choice for a healthier planet, but before we can get there, we need a solution that will bridge the gap between today’s electricity generation mix and the electricity sources of the future. 

This is where natural gas is gaining more ground. Natural gas surpassed oil and nuclear in becoming the second most commonly used fuel in electricity generation. Similarly, in the United States, the Energy Information Administration expects new U.S. power plants to be mostly natural gas combined-cycle and solar PV 5. Natural gas also offers decreased carbon footprint and emits 40-50% less carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to coal when burned per unit of energy output or heat content 6. Moreover, in selected cases, gas fueled power generators could produce both electricity and heat, increasing the overall efficiency of fuel usage beyond electricity generation. 

The second advancement is the move from centralized generation to distributed generation. 

Historically, electricity has been generated through large centralized power plants, with the need for centralization being a direct result of the fuel type used in the generation of the electricity. Through these power plants, energy in coal is converted into electrical energy, and nuclear power is converted into electricity. That electricity is then delivered to customers through transformers, transmission lines and distribution lines. 

“In contrast to centralized generation, distributed generation introduces an interconnected ecosystem of smaller power generation systems at or close to the point of consumption,” said Satish Jayaram, General Manager of Distributed Generation, Cummins Inc. 

“This proximity to consumption allows distributed generation systems to reduce the cost, complexity and inefficiency associated with transmission and distribution. In terms of sustainability, distributed generation offers the benefit of reduced emissions through integration of renewable sources with existing energy assets.”

In our journey to produce enough electricity by 2050, both increased diversity in sources of electricity and adoption of distributed generation are components of a sustainable solution. The complete solution will also feature new technologies, policies and other changes, which we’ll cover here in a future article. 

To learn more about trends in electricity generation and energy follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. To learn more about how Cummins is powering a world that’s “Always On,” visit our web page.

Think your friends and colleagues would like this content? Share on LinkedIn and Facebook.

References: 

  1. Global Energy Perspective 2019: Reference Case [PDF document]. (2019, January). Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com
  2. Access to Energy is at the Heart of Development [Web story]. (2018, April 18). Retrieved from https://www.worldbank.org
  3. Access to electricity (% of population) [Data chart]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://data.worldbank.org
  4. Global Energy Perspective 2019 [Web post]. (2019, January). Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com
  5. Sukunta M. (2019, March 8). New U.S. power plants expected to be mostly natural gas combined-cycle and solar PV [Web post]. Retrieved from https://www.eia.gov
  6. How much carbon dioxide is produced when different fuels are burned? [Web post]. (2018, June 8). Retrieved from https://www.eia.gov
  7. The World Bank, Access to electricity (% of population) [Data set]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://data.worldbank.org
  8. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. World population projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100. [Web post]. (2017, June 21). Retrieved from https://www.un.org
  9. International Energy Agency, Global Energy & CO2 Status Report [Data table]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.iea.org

Raise Your Energy IQ

Grow professionally with energy trends and insights delivered to your inbox. Read about energy technologies and trends on our Energy IQ Hub.

Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Gas expertise taken to extremes in southern Myanmar

Eight Cummins QSV91G lean burn gas generator sets provide continuous gas power to the city and region of Dawei in southern Myanmar.
Eight Cummins QSV91G lean burn gas generator sets provide continuous gas power to the city and region of Dawei in southern Myanmar.


 

In Dawei City and the surrounding region, a new 16MW power plant is equipping the residents, visitors and businesses of this growing trade hub and tourism destination of southern Myanmar with reliable, Always On power from Cummins.

Faced with inadequate grid infrastructure, the government awarded Petro & Trans power company the project, which selected Cummins DKSH Myanmar (CDM), Cummins local distributor partner, to support with the development and execution of this power project. Despite the tight project schedules and short lead times, CDM was able to supply eight Cummins 2000kW QSV91G lean burn gas generators within a very short timeframe as opposed to other competing generator manufacturers, which was one of the reasons CDM was selected for this project. In addition, CDM provided ongoing support throughout the duration of the project from the equipment deployment up until the installation phase, which was another critical customer requirement.

The QSV91G generators’ proven reliability, coupled with the best-in-class load acceptance and high electrical efficiency, were some of the key reasons for choosing the QSV91G series to cover the power plant’s energy requirements.

Read the case study on cummins.com.

Adam Sidders Marketing Communications Leader Power Systems

Adam Sidders

Adam Sidders is the Marketing Communications Leader for the Power Systems Business Unit of Cummins Inc. Prior to joining Cummins in 2012 Adam worked in Financial Services for Europe’s largest independently owned insurer as their Marketing and Communications Manager. [email protected]

Cummins OEM provides outstanding service for more than 20 years

Southeastern Specialty Vehicles, a Cummins Commercial Mobile OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), understands the impact that essential workers can make during a pandemic. Based in North Carolina (USA), they have provided quality service to emergency care providers for over 20 years. 

EMS

Southeastern Specialty Vehicles started in 1996 as a chassis manufacturing company for ambulances and rescue vehicles. Not long after, the manufacturing company transitioned from up fitting trailers to building the whole vehicle. Today, they build around 100 emergency, rescue and law enforcement vehicles each year. 

Since their beginnings, Southeastern Specialty Vehicles has relied on Cummins as their power provider. The Onan QG 7500 and the Onan QG 4000 are the generators that they use for their commercial mobile applications. “The Onan system is what we utilize for our products due to its robust system,” said Tony Tyler, Vice President, Specialty Vehicles. “I personally like the product since I have been involved in manufacturing” 

Click here to learn more about Southeastern Specialty Vehicles.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins Home Generator Prevents Costly Damage During Hurricane Sally

Sales and Service generator delivery

The unprecedented 2020 hurricane season has battered the southern and eastern edges of the United States week after week. Although many beach towns have plans in place to keep damage to a minimum, sometimes mother nature strikes harder than anticipated. 

The Florida panhandle experienced this recently when Hurricane Sally stalled over the Pensacola area for nearly 12 hours. Locals had been told to prepare for extreme winds, but when the storm hit it brought widespread damage, major power outages and over two feet of rain. While most residents scrambled to keep the flooding waters out, Macy Summers and his wife relied on their Cummins generator to protect their Florida home. 

The Summers lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for most of their lives until retirement drew them to warmer places. Having a seasonal residence in Florida for many years, they transitioned permanently to Pensacola, FL (USA) six years ago. With unsettling memories from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, they made it a priority to invest in backup power for their home when they moved south. 

An engineer by trade, Macy spent 18 months researching which power solution would prove worthy of protecting their home during major storms. Familiar with the brand, Summers knew that if he went with a Cummins generator he would be getting a quality product. But in addition to the engine, it was also important to consider the service a manufacturer could provide. The ability for a local dealer to support his purchase and the availability of parts in his area were other priorities. 

He said, “Having the Cummins Onan name and knowledge of the long history of making really high quality smaller gensets was important to me. This company knows what they’re talking about with engines and they are going to stand behind the product.”

Narrowly escaping the grasp of Hurricane Sally, the Summers’ natural gas home generator was installed just a few months prior to the storm. When the heavy wind and rain arrived, their standby power was the only thing protecting them from costly water damage. 

The Summers have a pool in their backyard that retained the mass amounts of water produced by Hurricane Sally. Aware of the risk, Macy had purchased pumps to help drain the pool area to keep it from overflowing. During the 12-hour storm, the Summers’ Cummins home generator powered all three electric pumps that were working overtime to ensure their residence stayed dry. 

At first, their generator turned on intermittently but then it came on to stay. The unit ran for 87.5 hours until power was restored. Macy even said, “One evening we invited our powerless neighbors over for a dinner and a little music making and for a few hours, life was normal!”

Unfortunately, hurricane season and mother nature run on their own time. Whether your home is protected or not, they may drop by unannounced. The good news is that by investing in a Cummins home generator you can prepare for a storm with peace of mind. From the Summers’ perspective, you would rather be safe than sorry. 

Three weeks after the storm, Macy concluded, “If we didn’t have Cummins power, our house would have flooded, and we would not be in our home right now… I am a Cummins customer for life thanks to their superb service and quality of product.”

Interested in a Cummins generator to protect your home? Get a free in-home assessment now. 

Katie Yoder - Cummins Inc.

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a Marketing Communications Specialist. New to Cummins in 2018, Katie joined the marketing operations team where she supports trade show initiatives in North America. As a University of Wisconsin alumna, Katie enjoys watching Badger sports in her free time.

National Preparedness Month: Be ready for a busy hurricane season

tropical storm

This year has been far from normal, but regardless of a global pandemic hurricane season still comes around every year. The 2020 Atlantic Basin hurricane season is already off to a historically eventful start and meteorologists are expecting the tropics to remain active.

As of the August forecast, Meteorologists at NOAA and Colorado State University are now predicting 19-25 named storms in the Atlantic Basin for the year. If this holds true, all the alphabetical tropical storm and hurricane names will be used in 2020. This means the Greek alphabet will have to be will be tapped into like it was back in 2005.  

The peak of the Atlantic Basin hurricane season is in mid-September. As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designated this month as National Preparedness Month (NPM).

The NPM 2020 theme is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” FEMA’s website makes it easy to prepare and suggests different preparedness activities to focus on for each week of September. 

September 1-5: Make a plan

  • Know your natural disaster risk
  • Have an out-of-town contact
  • Identify a family meeting place if everyone gets separated
  • Ask a neighbor to check on your pets if a disaster strikes when you are not home
  • Know your area’s evacuation routes and local disaster shelter locations

September 6-12: Build a kit

  • Assemble a disaster prep kit, including items specifically selected for each member of your family (children, seniors, special needs, pets)
  • Develop a “necessities” list that includes items you and your family cannot live without
  • Have at least a two-week supply of bottled water, non-perishable food and prescription medications
  • Include items like masks, hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap and wipes that are now especially necessary due to COVID-19
  • Have important supplies on hand — first aid kit, flashlights, extra batteries, NOAA weather radio, blanket, cash (single dollar bills) and cell phone charger (at a minimum)
  • Keep a disaster kit at home, at work and in your vehicle

September 13-19: Prepare for disasters

  • Having a standby generator means all the power in your home can be restored automatically without gas, even when you’re not there. If you have back-up power generation, your home can be your family’s central meeting place. If you don’t have backup power, make sure your family agrees on a safe place to meet in the event that you are separated.
  • Store important documents in a metal strongbox to protect them from exposure. Keep them on a flash drive as well, just in case.
  • Survey property areas for things that might need repair. Check loose or hanging shingles, signs or shutters, walkways, storage spaces and even overgrown vegetation and dead trees. Check your roof for leaks. Clean out gutters and chimneys.
  • Know if you live in a flood zone. Homeowner’s insurance does not cover flooding and a new flood insurance policy has a 30-day wait period until it activates. Remember, even if you do not live in a designated flood zone: it can still flood!

September 20-26: Teach youth about preparedness

  • Make sure you and your children understand the weather risks in your area
  • Encourage teachers to discuss disaster preparedness at school 
  • Make learning about disasters fun through books, games and other online resources 

Don't suffer through another power outage

In addition to educating yourself about hurricane preparedness, you can take the extra step to protect your residence with a Cummins home generator. Standby power can keep your life essentials operating in the event of a major outage and provide you with peace of mind. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Inquire about a Cummins home generator today and find a certified Cummins dealer near you. 

Meteorologist Cheryl Nelson
Cummins Weather & Preparedness Advisor 
www.PrepareWithCher.com
Follow Cheryl on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Cheryl Nelson, Certified Broadcast Meteorologist

Cheryl Nelson

Cheryl Nelson is an Emmy-nominated and AP award-winning Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, TV Host, FEMA-Certified Instructor and Weather and Preparedness Advisor for Cummins. You can visit Cheryl’s website at www.PrepareWithCher.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook @CherylNelsonTV. 

Redirecting to
cummins.com

The information you are looking for is on
cummins.com

We are launching that site for you now.

Thank you.