Conclusions

The world is searching for a new energy paradigm - indeed, a new development paradigm. We know that this will have to be based on renewable energies and on maximum energy and resource efficiency. Nobody knows what the details of this new paradigm are going to look like; but we understand that business as usual is not an option. The way to these new paradigms will be littered with errors, mistakes and misjudgements - but they are necessary and inevitable to find the best solutions. The current state of affairs in the development of bioenergy reflects this. Many bioenergy options currently being pursued are neither sustainable nor economically viable. This is no surprise. The bioenergy sector in 20 years will look very different from what it is now, just as the wind energy sector in the last 20 years has seen enormous productivity and efficiency gains. Calls to stop bioenergy production or for a 'moratorium' on bioenergy would be counterproductive - we need better regulation and accelerated technology development to overcome wrong developments in the bioenergy sector.

In the face of limited resources and a limited resource base, efficiency needs to be - and will be - the key principle. Sufficiency is also an important issue; but this leads beyond the reach of this chapter. Bioenergy - and renewables, in general - cannot be just seen as a new energy input for the existing centralized energy and transportation system. A look at a sustainable and efficient utilization of bioenergy therefore needs to ask a few more questions than just which technology and which crop is the best. It also shows that we cannot look at a sustainable bioenergy future - or energy future, in general - without addressing some more comprehensive questions about how societies and economies should be structured to reduce the structural demand for energy input, while at the same time providing a comparable output of energy services. In the end, what we need or want is mobility, a warm home or similar things, not a sports utility vehicle or an electric heater.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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