Energy must balance with environmental protection, reliability and sustainability, and social and economic welfare. That’s the key message in a commentary article penned by Professor Way Kuo, President of City University of Hong Kong, for the 2018 January issue of the journal Joule.
Joule, a sister journal to Cell, is a top-rated professional journal and home for outstanding and insightful research, analysis and ideas addressing a key global challenge: the need for more sustainable energy.
The article “A reliability look at energy development” was jointly written with Professor Pan Chin of National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. It is one of very few systematically analysed energy articles ever published in top-rated journals.
It addresses the impact of air pollution and climate change through the lens of energy use, and analyses the distribution of the so-called “rainbow energies”, which Professor Kuo refers to as a spectrum of seven kinds of energies, for generating electricity in major countries. It explores the respective pros and cons of each energy source through statistical data and future sustainability.
The rainbow energies comprise hydropower, fossil (coal, oil and natural gas), nuclear, wind, solar, biofuel and others (geothermal, ocean energy and marsh gas), all of which generate different kinds of pollutants when used for electricity generation.
“The use of these energies must balance with environmental protection, reliability and sustainability, and social and economic welfare,” say the authors.
According to Professor Kuo and Professor Pan, in addition to renewables with proper energy storage technology ready to balance fluctuation in energy supply and use, nuclear power as a reliable low-carbon green energy must be part of the energy solution for mitigating air pollution and climate change.
“The challenge today is how to prevent the misuse of data and how to manage slogan-slinging politicians who ignore what is found in the data related to energy and environmental protection,” the authors say.