WETS'03 Workshop
(World Energy Transmission System)
Which world energy transmission system in 2050?
What role would Power Insulated Cables play?

Thursday 26 June, 2003

World population expansion (6 billion today, probably rising to 8 - 10 billion by 2050) and the emergence of certain developing countries is expected to lead to a rise in global energy consumption from 9 Btoe (in 1995) to 14 or even as much as 30 Btoe by the mid-21st century. How should we confront this energy situation and allow the poorest countries access to a minimum degree of comfort, without damaging the planet ?

Today, 80% of global energy consumption relies on fossil fuels (i.e. oil, gas and coal). This dependence on fossil fuels should diminish in the future and make way for a certain diversification taking into account two constraints : a) supplies : exploitation of durable or actually inexhaustible resources and b) emissions.

The uncertainty surrounding future needs is great; however it is established that the emerging countries are set to become major players in the energy market. Today, China consumes 1.2 Btoe, i.e. approximately 1 toe per person per year. The country’s development could lead in 2050 to an energy consumption of up to 3 toe per person per year !

The transition towards sustainable development, essential for the future of our planet, should result from global optimisation of “ Energy resources / Transmission system / Uses ”. The power transmission system should indeed constitute a major factor for the future balance of power, given the spatial differences between massive resources and massive needs. Furthermore, the scattered needs would be satisfied by specially adapted means which are independent of the network.

This situation begs a number of questions : What are the major « Energy freeways » to appear in the world ? What power vectors should be adopted (electricity, microwave, hydrogen, gas, etc ?). Are the transmission technologies available for the quantities of energy envisaged and for the distances which may be extremely large if not intercontinental ?

To conclude, the discussion we are proposing to initiate aims to examine the interest and feasibility of a global energy system likely to best distribute power to a maximum number of people (today there are 2 billion people on Earth without access to electricity). This network would do so whilst simultaneously ensuring a transition towards a sustainable development.

On the occasion of the JICABLE'03 conference:

In a future system of this type, what role would insulated power cables play: large transmission or niche market ?

In order to develop a discussion on this question, this workshop will examine long term insulated power cables prospects: new and future technologies; their characteristics; their technical, economical and environmental limits; their fields of application; the comparison of these technologies with other conceivable vectors of power transmission.

Modified Last : 13/03/2007