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Sustainable and Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "A: Sustainable Energy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 15992

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Zielona Góra, Licealna Street 9, 65-417 Zielona Góra, Poland
Interests: sustainable economic development; green economy; renewable energy sources; low-carbon agriculture; energy conservation; emission reduction; low-carbon development; energy; sustainability

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Guest Editor
Department of World Economy, Institute of Economics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Palace of Culture and Science, 1 Defilad Sq., 00-901 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: energy transition; renewable energy; entropy; prosumer capitalism; wicked problems; complexity economics; econophysics; nonlinear dynamics; econometrics; economic methodology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Humanity is currently at a crossroads due to increasing environmental pollution responsible for worsening climate change and the anthropogenic greenhouse effect, and the continuation of current economic development trends may soon lead civilization to self-destruction. Therefore, the highest priority now is to change the structure of the energy sector of the world economy and direct it towards sustainable and low-carbon development.

This Special Issue aims to present and disseminate the most recent advances related to the economic use of all types of renewable and traditional energy sources, which would enable sustainable human growth and contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Both theoretical and practical papers on economic, environmental, legal and technical issues related to the theory, design, modeling, operation and condition monitoring of low-cost, low-carbon power systems, including not only renewable resources, but also nuclear power and novel technologies for the zero- or low-carbon combustion of fossil fuels, are welcome. Multidisciplinary research is of great importance in the face of global warming threats, and we strongly encourage it.

Topics of interest for publication include, but are not limited to:

  • All aspects of low-carbon power systems based on both renewables and nuclear power;
  • Managing the renewable energy sector and integrating it with fossil-fuel-based power plants;
  • Digitization and electrification of large sectors of the economy, such as transportation and heating;
  • Integration of renewable energy systems;
  • Electric and hydrogen cars;
  • Prospects for the development of electric aircraft;
  • Economic and legal challenges related to sustainable development;
  • Limitation of economic development associated with increasing thermodynamic entropy;
  • Econophysical methods in the study of the renewable energy sector;
  • Nonlinear dynamics and energy aspects of low-carbon development;
  • Management of energy sector companies;
  • Energy security and environmental protection;
  • Energy and environmental systems in buildings;
  • Distributed energy generation;
  • Energy system optimization;
  • Shift from consumer to prosumer in the energy sector;
  • Energy justice and energy poverty;
  • The future of energy systems: energy internet and the Internet of Things;
  • Circular economy;
  • Environmental law and policy;
  • The energy efficiency of buildings;
  • Tidal energy industry;
  • Prosumer power generation;
  • The role of human and more-than-human contact zones in the development of the renewable energy sector;
  • Environmental heaters (heat pump heaters);
  • Biomass heating systems;
  • Gas hybrid and gas renewable ready heaters;
  • The energy prosumer as an active market participant;
  • Renewable energy technologies;
  • Distributional inequities and cross-subsidization;
  • Challenges in the cyber security of energy systems;
  • Smart grids as a fundamental element of a decentralized energy system;
  • Demand response management;
  • Energy clusters and energy cooperatives;
  • Renewable energy community and citizen energy community;
  • The Jevons paradox and energy efficiency;
  • Solar communism;
  • Energy storage.

Dr. Maria Dzikuć
Prof. Dr. Aleksander Jakimowicz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • renewable energy systems
  • energy transition
  • distributed generation
  • low-carbon development
  • climate change
  • energy internet
  • smart grids
  • environmental economics
  • low-carbon agriculture
  • energy conservation

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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25 pages, 4840 KiB  
Article
Energy Management of Hydrogen Hybrid Electric Vehicles—Online-Capable Control
by David Machacek, Nazim Yasar, Fabio Widmer, Thomas Huber and Christopher Onder
Energies 2024, 17(10), 2369; https://doi.org/10.3390/en17102369 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 347
Abstract
The results shown in this paper extend our research group’s previous work, which presents the theoretically achievable hydrogen engine-out NOxeo (H2-NOxeo) Pareto front of a hydrogen hybrid electric vehicle (H2-HEV). [...] Read more.
The results shown in this paper extend our research group’s previous work, which presents the theoretically achievable hydrogen engine-out NOxeo (H2-NOxeo) Pareto front of a hydrogen hybrid electric vehicle (H2-HEV). While the Pareto front is calculated offline, which requires significant computing power and time, this work presents an online-capable algorithm to tackle the energy management of a H2-HEV with explicit consideration of the H2-NOxeo trade-off. Through the inclusion of realistic predictive data on the upcoming driving mission, a model predictive control algorithm (MPC) is utilized to effectively tackle the conflicting goal of achieving low hydrogen consumption while simultaneously minimizing NOxeo. In a case study, it is shown that MPC is able to satisfy user-defined NOxeo limits over the course of various driving missions. Moreover, a comparison with the optimal Pareto front highlights MPC’s ability to achieve close-to-optimal fuel performance for any desired cumulated NOxeo target on four realistic routes for passenger cars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector)
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18 pages, 3006 KiB  
Article
Modeling the Consumption of Main Fossil Fuels in Greenhouse Gas Emissions in European Countries, Considering Gross Domestic Product and Population
by Alicja Kolasa-Więcek, Agnieszka A. Pilarska, Małgorzata Wzorek, Dariusz Suszanowicz and Piotr Boniecki
Energies 2023, 16(23), 7906; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16237906 - 4 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 901
Abstract
Poland ranks among the leading European countries in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Many European countries have higher emissions per capita than the EU average. This research aimed to quantify the complex relationships between the consumption variables of the main fossil fuels, [...] Read more.
Poland ranks among the leading European countries in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Many European countries have higher emissions per capita than the EU average. This research aimed to quantify the complex relationships between the consumption variables of the main fossil fuels, accounting for economic indicators such as population and gross domestic product (GDP) in relation to GHG emissions. This research attempted to find similarities in the group of 16 analyzed European countries. The hypothesis of an inverted U-shaped environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) was tested. The resulting multiple regression models showed similarities in one group of countries, namely Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia, in which most of the variables related to the consumption of fossil fuels, including HC and BC simultaneously, are statistically significant. The HC variable is also significant in Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Finland and Bulgaria, and BC is also significant in Lithuania, Greece and Belgium. Moreover, results from Ireland, the Netherlands, and Belgium indicate a negative impact of population on GHG emissions, and in the case of Germany, the hypothesis of an environmental Kuznets curve can be accepted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector)
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15 pages, 1810 KiB  
Article
Renewables, Energy Mix and Inflation in the European Union Countries
by Łukasz Markowski and Kamil Kotliński
Energies 2023, 16(23), 7808; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16237808 - 27 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 815
Abstract
One of the effects of the 2022 energy crisis was a high increase in inflation. According to a review of the literature on the subject, a factor that may increase the economy’s resistance to external price shocks is the relatively high share of [...] Read more.
One of the effects of the 2022 energy crisis was a high increase in inflation. According to a review of the literature on the subject, a factor that may increase the economy’s resistance to external price shocks is the relatively high share of renewable sources in energy production. The aim of this paper is to assess the relationship between the share of renewables in energy production and the level of HICP and core inflation in a cross-sectional approach in the crisis year of 2022 within the EU countries. This study used regression methods, cluster analysis and dispersion measures. As a result of the analysis, it was found that in 2022 (using a cross-sectional approach), there was a statistically significant relationship between the above-mentioned variables. A higher share of renewables by 1 p.p. meant lower HICP by 0.13 p.p. and lower core inflation by 0.1 p.p. “Wind” and “solar” had the greatest importance in the multiple regression equation. It can also be stated that in 2022, countries with a similar energy mix structure were characterized as having a similar rate of inflation. It is therefore justified to increase the share of renewables in energy production, because it brings not only positive environmental but also economic effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector)
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16 pages, 326 KiB  
Article
Energy Efficiency Forecast as an Inverse Stochastic Problem: A Cross-Entropy Econometrics Approach
by Second Bwanakare
Energies 2023, 16(23), 7715; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16237715 - 22 Nov 2023
Viewed by 598
Abstract
This paper forecasts the energy efficiency coefficients at the Polish province level (NUT-2), based on imperfect and contradictory knowledge. On the one hand, we have information on the aggregated national energy efficiency coefficients in the industrial, transport, household, and service sectors. On the [...] Read more.
This paper forecasts the energy efficiency coefficients at the Polish province level (NUT-2), based on imperfect and contradictory knowledge. On the one hand, we have information on the aggregated national energy efficiency coefficients in the industrial, transport, household, and service sectors. On the other hand, we also have information on the energy intensity at the Polish province level. Since the two samples are of different natures and known with uncertainty, we are obviously dealing with an inverse stochastic problem whose solution requires particular statistical devices. The applied technique of non-extensive cross-entropy econometrics generalizes the Shannon-Kullback-Leibler approach based on the Gaussian assumptions. Its justification is explained throughout this paper from both methodological and empirical points of view. The model forecasts lead to the high-value energy efficiency estimates from quasi-unstructured sets of information. This constitutes the main contribution of this research. These outputs should provide energy policy units with valuable new devices for the optimization of the energy management processes on a disaggregated local level where, by contrast, different agents and households act decisively. On a global level, the proposed technique can be applied in different EU countries and elsewhere, in the context of experimental official statistics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector)
18 pages, 1068 KiB  
Article
Improving the Feed-in Tariff Policy for Renewable Energy Promotion in Ukraine’s Households
by Tetiana Kurbatova, Iryna Sotnyk, Olha Prokopenko, Iryna Bashynska and Uliana Pysmenna
Energies 2023, 16(19), 6773; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16196773 - 22 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 914
Abstract
This paper deals with improving the feed-in tariff policy for green energy advancement in Ukraine’s households based on assessing the economic efficiency of investment project implementation under the current state support mechanisms. This study was conducted for solar and wind power plants with [...] Read more.
This paper deals with improving the feed-in tariff policy for green energy advancement in Ukraine’s households based on assessing the economic efficiency of investment project implementation under the current state support mechanisms. This study was conducted for solar and wind power plants with different installed capacities. The Levelized Cost of Electricity and the payback period for such power plants were calculated considering the ongoing feed-in tariffs and discount rates determined by various equity and debt capital ratios. The results showed that the state support provides attractive payback periods for solar and wind power plants with an installed capacity of ≥30 kW. In comparison, 5 kW solar power plants and wind power plants with a capacity of up to 10 kW are not paid off during the power plants’ lifecycle. It confirmed that the ongoing energy policy in Ukraine’s residential sector is still designed to obtain profits by the owners of generating facilities by selling the excess electricity. In the meantime, its main goal—providing households energy independence—has been levelled. To resolve the issues caused by such a state support model, a methodical approach to improve the feed-in tariff calculation is proposed. In addition, recommendations for reconsidering other policy measures to ensure effective renewable energy development in the residential sector have been made. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector)
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48 pages, 3055 KiB  
Article
Contact Zones in the Energy Transition: A Transdisciplinary Complex Problem
by Aleksander Jakimowicz and Daniel Rzeczkowski
Energies 2023, 16(8), 3560; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16083560 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1547
Abstract
The success of energy transition relies on what happens in the contact zone, the area between citizens and municipality governments, which still awaits more thorough research. This article employs the concept of the contact zone both as a theory describing processes of developing [...] Read more.
The success of energy transition relies on what happens in the contact zone, the area between citizens and municipality governments, which still awaits more thorough research. This article employs the concept of the contact zone both as a theory describing processes of developing energy prosumerism on a local level, and as a research method which enables one to uncover phenomena that are critical to attaining climate objectives. The research field was the Warmia and Mazury Province in Poland, which is the region with the lowest socio-economic potential both in Poland and in the European Union. The analyzed contact zone was divided into two parts: the human administrative legal contact zone and the more-than-human energy contact zone. To describe the relationships occurring in these subzones, the authors used empirical data originating from a survey addressed to citizens living in the above province. The aim was to explore the respondents’ knowledge about current prosumption processes and the opportunities to implement them in the local government sector. Multiple correspondence analysis was used to analyze the data. The main findings were the low knowledge of citizens about prosumption, which was represented by a large number of the prosumption principles not indicated by the respondents, and—on the other hand—the evidence that local communities expect the implementation of digital prosumption, which they know from the market sector, in public administration. It was also demonstrated that the absence of citizens’ involvement in the energy transition is a consequence of two historic colonialisms, German and Russian, which had a huge influence on the emergence of an autocratic management style in the analyzed region. Comparison of the analyzed contact zones with two reference zones showed that grassroots movements in the province are initiated mainly by external factors of a nationwide character. In the Warmia and Mazury contact zones, civic initiatives are in the early stage of development, although they display all features of developed zones, such as autoethnographic gestures, transculturation, struggle, violence, and anti-conquest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector)
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Review

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19 pages, 829 KiB  
Review
New Foods as a Factor in Enhancing Energy Security
by Eulalia Skawińska and Romuald I. Zalewski
Energies 2024, 17(1), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/en17010192 - 29 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 644
Abstract
Increasing energy security is a crucial component of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Three main factors influence energy security: (1) the efficiency of resource use in energy production, (2) the extent of energy losses, and (3) the use of new energy sources. [...] Read more.
Increasing energy security is a crucial component of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Three main factors influence energy security: (1) the efficiency of resource use in energy production, (2) the extent of energy losses, and (3) the use of new energy sources. Novel food products can impact these factors, and this paper explores whether they are being studied in the context of reducing energy consumption. Specifically, we investigate the role of technical progress and know-how in the creation and development of novel food products and whether novel methods of food production using artificial intelligence aim to reduce energy expenditures while improving product quality, variety, and the use of new energy sources. This paper seeks to examine the impact determinants of novel foods on energy security, considering economic, technological, social, and environmental aspects of knowledge about new food. To implement the study, the relevant international literature published in the past ten years have been reviewed and methods of modeling, visualization, and descriptive statistics applied. The review is structured into three sections: the first section presents ways to save energy and other resources in the food production chain through the intensive use of artificial intelligence tools; the second section presents the development of novel food products; and the last section presents marketing challenges for novel foods. The findings show that the topic addressed by this paper is currently critical, with many authorities, research centers, food producers, and energy producers interested. However, the research problem remains open, as a systematic review of secondary sources revealed little knowledge of the topic under study, and each author’s study presents a new solution. The conclusion is that utilizing new foods and innovative production techniques that require less energy not only enhances production diversity but also improves its quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector)
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26 pages, 656 KiB  
Review
The Future of the Energy Sector and the Global Economy: Prosumer Capitalism and What Comes Next
by Aleksander Jakimowicz
Energies 2022, 15(23), 9120; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15239120 - 1 Dec 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2779
Abstract
This paper describes the present and the future of the energy sector in relation to the dominant and constantly evolving form of the global economic system. These considerations have their starting point in transformations of the energy sector in prosumer capitalism, which has [...] Read more.
This paper describes the present and the future of the energy sector in relation to the dominant and constantly evolving form of the global economic system. These considerations have their starting point in transformations of the energy sector in prosumer capitalism, which has dramatically changed the picture of the global economy in recent years. Subsequently, a futuristic approach is applied to determine the role and importance of energy from renewable sources for further human development. The main objective of the paper is to explain the current situation of the energy sector in prosumer capitalism and to extrapolate these relationships for the future, considering the need to enter the path of sustainable development to eliminate the global warming processes and climate changes. A review of the existing scientific literature was applied as the research method. The historical wave concept, proposed by Toffler, was found to be highly useful because of its high potential in futurology, where it enables one to study megatrends. The Fourth Wave was linked to prosumer capitalism, and it provided the base for defining the next ones: the Fifth Wave of Computing (ecosocialism) and the Sixth Wave in the form of technological and energy communism (solar communism). It also turned out that the key to solving mankind’s energy problems lies in the global mean entropy budget. The literature review shows that founding the global energy system on solar radiation is the only known method for eliminating the anthropogenic greenhouse effect, which is the source of global warming and, consequently, of climate change. Therefore, the second law of thermodynamics provides a physical, economic, and logical justification for introducing a new and ultimate management form—solar communism—by 2050. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector)
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31 pages, 450 KiB  
Review
The Energy Transition as a Super Wicked Problem: The Energy Sector in the Era of Prosumer Capitalism
by Aleksander Jakimowicz
Energies 2022, 15(23), 9109; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15239109 - 1 Dec 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3454
Abstract
The main objective of this paper is to demonstrate that the energy transition as part of prosumer capitalism is a socio-economic process whose complexity increases over time, which makes it an example of a super wicked problem. It comprises many new phenomena emerging [...] Read more.
The main objective of this paper is to demonstrate that the energy transition as part of prosumer capitalism is a socio-economic process whose complexity increases over time, which makes it an example of a super wicked problem. It comprises many new phenomena emerging spontaneously, and often unpredictably, in the energy markets. The main contemporary challenge involves such an energy sector transformation which will prevent climate change and will ensure the sustainable development of the global economy. However, this requires solving a large number of sub-problems in areas such as legislation, energy distribution, democracy, and cybersecurity. Therefore, this is a multidisciplinary issue. Moreover, the situation is complicated by the frequently omitted fact that energy transition is not part of the standard capitalism model, extensively described in handbooks and scientific literature, but it is conducted as part of a new economic system—prosumer capitalism, which has not been properly explored yet. However, a solution to this super wicked problem has to be found soon, as the energy system may be threatened with complexity catastrophe, which denotes exceeding the upper complexity limit associated with the breakdown of its adaptability. Therefore, developing effective techniques for alleviating the complexity catastrophe, including redefining the change management and complexity management methods to the global scale, becomes the top priority among the tasks faced by science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector)

Other

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23 pages, 403 KiB  
Perspective
The Material Entropy and the Fourth Law of Thermodynamics in the Evaluation of Energy Technologies of the Future
by Aleksander Jakimowicz
Energies 2023, 16(9), 3861; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16093861 - 30 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2838
Abstract
The primary purpose of this article is to use the laws of thermodynamics, mainly the second and fourth laws, to evaluate three energy technologies of the future: fusion, solar, and fission. Among the criteria used to evaluate them, the most important are the [...] Read more.
The primary purpose of this article is to use the laws of thermodynamics, mainly the second and fourth laws, to evaluate three energy technologies of the future: fusion, solar, and fission. Among the criteria used to evaluate them, the most important are the amount of matter needed to sustain the technology itself and the environmental impact. Much emphasis is placed here on the fourth law of thermodynamics, which introduces the concept of material entropy. Zemansky–Georgescu-Roegen’s Law of Inevitable Dissipation of Useful Concentrated Matter states that, in the economic process, some matter is inevitably degraded and becomes unavailable matter. This has tremendous implications for humanity as a whole since the Earth is thermodynamically a closed system, meaning that it cannot exchange matter with space but is open to the flow of solar energy. This results in the need to conserve matter and natural resources. This law can be used as an important criterion for the selection of energy technology. Moreover, the flow–fund model, which was proposed by Georgescu-Roegen, was used to assess the viability of energy technologies. The final conclusion is that there is no Promethean technology of the third kind yet, but the closest to meeting this condition is solar technology. Technology based on nuclear fission has been rejected due to its adverse ecological effects, while fusion technology has proven to be less useful due to the matter criterion, the negative environmental impact, since radioactive waste only becomes safe for humans after 500 years, and the risks associated with nuclear proliferation. Solar technology can become Prometheus III only after all of humanity is involved with this project, which requires profound social changes, widespread demilitarization, and the development of organic agriculture. This implies the necessity of the emergence of a global solar society based on an economic system called solar communism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector)
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