In this area, we focus on selected resources that are essential for the existing European (and global) energy systems and that are likely to play a vital role in the future. Since the global resources of fossil fuels are abundant, especially with respect to coal, successful mitigation of climate change means that we cannot await the depletion of fossil fuel sources but need instead to undertake alternative measures. Such measures involve the retention of these resources in the ground or the development of CO2-cleansing technologies, such as CCS, or a combination of both approaches. We also analyse renewable resources, focusing on wind, solar and biomass, and we conclude that, in general, the problem is not one of resources. The key challenges are rather to integrate these resources into current and future structures and systems. Furthermore, the climate benefits of exploiting certain qualities of biomass are subjected to analysis.
Figure: Geographical grid cells indicating percentages of land available for wind power installations in EU-27.
Figure: Annual solar irradiance incident on a dual-axis tracking concentrating collector is composed almost entirely of direct beam radiation: (above) the direct beam and circumsolar forward scattered diffuse component incident on one square meter of such a collector.