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Reports Year : 2023

Beyond Primary energy: The energy transition needs a new lens


Measuring energy, whether supply or consumption, is crucial to define policy, or evaluate energy transition scenarios. To accomplish this, a reliable measuring instrument is essential. Primary energy is an important metric today, as it describes the supply to our energy system and its evolution. However, what worked well in a world dominated by fossil fuels is not suitable for a system that will primarily rely on renewables and electricity. It uses as a reference precisely what we are trying to move away from. Therefore, it is a measure rooted in the past that is bound to become obsolete as conventions used are not based on a physical reality and it fails to capture the impact of switching to more efficient technologies. In practice, primary energy heavily favors fossil fuels, which can create a discouraging impression that the transition to renewables is an unattainable goal. Moreover, from a methodological standpoint, the definition of primary energy is problematic and varies significantly among different organizations in various studies and reports that aim to shed light on our energy future. In this report, we aim to provide a more detailed examination of these flaws. We want to emphasize the central role of electrification in the energy transition, which is crucial for both decarbonization and energy efficiency. Focusing on final and useful energy measurements can offer a more accurate description of these dynamics.
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hal-04156890 , version 1 (10-07-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04156890 , version 1


Kevin Pahud, Boigontier Thomas, Gregory de Temmerman, Robin Girard. Beyond Primary energy: The energy transition needs a new lens. Mines Paris PSL. 2023. ⟨hal-04156890⟩
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