Special Issue "Energy Security and the Transition toward Green Energy Production"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Philipp Bagus
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Economics, History and Economic Institutions and Moral Philosophy, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, 28032-Vicálvaro Campus, Madrid, Spain
Interests: Public Policies; Monetary Theory; European Union; Business Cycle Theory; Libertarian Philosophy; Business Ethics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. José Antonio Peña-Ramos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Granada, C/ Rector López Argüeta, s/n, 18071-Granada, Spain
Interests: Energy Security; Geostrategy of Energy Resources; Water; Russia; Libertarian Political Theory
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Several political initiatives propose a transition toward renewable energy; most prominently, the European Union (EU) adopted a Green Deal in October 2014 (revised in 2018). Representatives of the Democratic Party in the US also defend a Green New Deal (GND). Moreover, technological innovations pave the way towards a transition to green energy. At the same time, nuclear energy is regarded by many as the cheapest and most reliable source of energy. This Special Issue is dedicated to the energy security issues related to a transition towards green energy. More specifically, the transition comes with consequences for political, technological, and economic security. On the political side, conflicts about energy are as old as mankind, with energy supplies being of geopolitical importance as energy supplies must be secure. On the technological side, the vulnerability of economies is related to energy reliability. Finally, on the economic side, there are important costs of a transition toward Green energy that much be balanced with its benefits and the increasing scarcity of hydrogen resources. Cheap and secure energy is vital economic growth and prosperity. In this respect, the transition toward Green energy must take into account the difficulties of a post-Covid-19 world.

The following topics are addressed:

  • International conflicts as affected by the transition toward green energies
  • Changes in the geo-political power balance
  • Energy resources traded in US-dollar as affected by Green energy
  • Implications for the international currency system and exchange rates
  • Energy costs and sustainability of cryptocurrencies
  • Dependence on carbon fuels and reliability of green energy
  • Costs and consequences of Green Deal sustainability policies
  • Nuclear energy, carbon hydrogen, and clean energy
  • Costs and benefits of green energy and effects on economic growth
  • Energy as an universal input factor
  • Economic security in a world of green energy
  • Peak oil and the possible end of carbon hydrogen related energy sources

Prof. Dr. Philipp Bagus
Prof. Dr. José Antonio Peña-Ramos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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 2000 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

  • Energy security
  • Oil dollar trade
  • Geo-energy interests
  • Geopolitics
  • Currency systems
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Peak oil
  • Green Deal
  • Nuclear energy
  • Ultimate resource
  • Carbon dependability
  • Green energy reliability
  • Economic robustness
  • Economic growth
  • Hydrogen energy

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
Carbon Emissions Reduction and Corporate Financial Performance: The Influence of Country-Level Characteristics
Energies 2021, 14(19), 6029; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14196029 - 22 Sep 2021
Viewed by 429
Abstract
Using a cross-country dataset covering 9265 observations on 1785 firms representing 53 countries over the period 2004–2019, this study investigates the relation between carbon emissions reduction and corporate financial performance (CFP). We perform OLS regressions with fixed effects. We found that carbon emissions [...] Read more.
Using a cross-country dataset covering 9265 observations on 1785 firms representing 53 countries over the period 2004–2019, this study investigates the relation between carbon emissions reduction and corporate financial performance (CFP). We perform OLS regressions with fixed effects. We found that carbon emissions reduction increases the return on assets, the return on equity, and the return on sales, whereas it has no effect on the Tobin’s Q and the current ratio. The positive relationship with the return on assets is stronger for firms with a higher responsibility score. We study country characteristics by modeling GDP growth, overall emissions within a country, and the presence of carbon emissions legislation. Our results indicate that the overall carbon emissions of a country and the presence of carbon emissions legislation are related to both corporate carbon emissions reduction and CFP. Moderating effects of the country’s overall emissions and the presence of carbon emissions legislation do not affect the relationship between carbon emissions reduction and CFP. Despite the further understanding gained, the issue of whether it “pays to be green” can still not be resolved well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and the Transition toward Green Energy Production)
Article
The Subsidized Green Revolution: The Impact of Public Incentives on the Automotive Industry to Promote Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) in the Period from 2010 to 2018
Energies 2021, 14(18), 5765; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14185765 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 532
Abstract
Throughout decades, conflicts related to the access and usage of various energy sources have caused political tensions between nations and confederations of states. Thus, partially to decrease the dependence on fossil fuels, a thorough transition towards renewable energies has been promoted by several [...] Read more.
Throughout decades, conflicts related to the access and usage of various energy sources have caused political tensions between nations and confederations of states. Thus, partially to decrease the dependence on fossil fuels, a thorough transition towards renewable energies has been promoted by several regional and national governments as well as by multinational institutions such as the European Union. In this context, the automotive industry has particularly been held responsible for the production of negative externalities, such as global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions), noise and air pollution. To a notable extent, these externalities were caused by vehicles running on fossil fuels such as petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel fuel and fuel oil. Accordingly, it is often argued that replacing vehicles run by internal combustion engines (ICEs) with so-called alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), particularly with plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), is crucial to increase the sustainability of the transport sector. Moreover, several EU-member states aim to reduce the vehicle-related petrol and diesel demand to decrease their dependence on foreign energy sources. However, one must consider that there are important economic costs related to such a transition process. This paper evaluates the short-term and long-term effects of fiscal policies on the European automotive market in the period from 2010 to 2018, focusing on the impact of mentioned public incentives for AFVs. This public interventionism will be critically evaluated to examine the effectiveness of government incentives in promoting AFVs, particularly for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The author argues that the rather positive sales evolution of AFVs was not caused by corresponding actual customer demand but mainly by governmental policies in an increasingly interventionist market. He acknowledges that the growing variety of available PEV models, the increasing driving range of electric vehicles, as well as their decreasing production costs due to economies of scale, have helped PEVs to become more competitive. However, the concern should be raised that mentioned public interventionism is unsustainable from a macroeconomic perspective, possibly leading to significant market distortion and a new artificial market bubble. The narrowed focus on battery electric vehicles prevents the market from further elaborating on other potentially more sustainable technologies. Moreover, from a geostrategic perspective, the transition of the European automotive industry towards electrification is likely to reduce the EU’s dependency on imported fossil fuels but enables several non-European automotive brands to conquer a significant market with their new competitive plug-in electric vehicle technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and the Transition toward Green Energy Production)
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Article
Comparison of Optimized and Conventional Models of Passive Solar Greenhouse—Case Study: The Indoor Air Temperature, Irradiation, and Energy Demand
Energies 2021, 14(17), 5369; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14175369 - 28 Aug 2021
Viewed by 563
Abstract
This study was carried out to optimize a computational model of a new underground passive solar greenhouse to improve thermal performance, storage, and saving of heat solar energy. Optimized and conventional passive solar greenhouse were compared in regards of indoor air temperature, irradiation, [...] Read more.
This study was carried out to optimize a computational model of a new underground passive solar greenhouse to improve thermal performance, storage, and saving of heat solar energy. Optimized and conventional passive solar greenhouse were compared in regards of indoor air temperature, irradiation, and energy demand. Six different materials were used in the conventional model. In addition, TRNSYS software was employed to determine heat demand and irradiation in the greenhouse. The results showed that the annual total heating requirement in the optimized model was 30% lower than a conventional passive solar system. In addition, the resulting average air temperature in the optimized model ranged from −4 to 33.1 °C in the four days of cloud, snow, and sun. The average air temperature in the conventional passive solar greenhouse ranged from −8.4 to 24.7 °C. The maximum monthly heating requirement was 796 MJ/m2 for the Wtype87 model (100-mm lightweight concrete block) and the minimum value was 190 MJ/m2 for the Wtype45 model (50-mm insulation with 200-mm clay tile) in a conventional passive solar greenhouse while the monthly heating requirement estimated 126 MJ/m2 for the optimized greenhouse model. The predictability of the TRNSYS model was calculated with a coefficient of determination (R2) of 95.95%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and the Transition toward Green Energy Production)
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Article
The Costs and Trade-Offs of Green Central Banking: A Framework for Analysis
Energies 2021, 14(16), 5168; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14165168 - 21 Aug 2021
Viewed by 985
Abstract
The participation of central banks in the fight against climate change has recently been advanced in several academic articles and policy papers. Since the emerging consensus is that climate change poses financial risks, the envisaged green central banking has a responsibility to address [...] Read more.
The participation of central banks in the fight against climate change has recently been advanced in several academic articles and policy papers. Since the emerging consensus is that climate change poses financial risks, the envisaged green central banking has a responsibility to address environmental sustainability as a means of promoting financial stability—an increasingly accepted goal of central banks in the post-financial crisis world. Thus far, the pro side of the argument is well represented in the literature, though often the benefits remain implicit: with the help of central banks via monetary and macroprudential policies, a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy would be somehow beneficial to all of us. With this article, we aim to add to this literature by looking at the costs and trade-offs of this course of action in light of the observation that the con side of the proposal has been only marginally addressed. We put forward a framework for the analysis of the costs and trade-offs of green central banking and exemplify the applicability of this framework by studying three cases of central banks for which the transition to green operation has been advanced. We find evidence that if costs and trade-offs are taken into account, the case in favor of greening central banks becomes less straightforward than is currently conveyed in the literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and the Transition toward Green Energy Production)
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Article
Local Balancing of the Electricity Grid in a Renewable Municipality; Analyzing the Effectiveness and Cost of Decentralized Load Balancing Looking at Multiple Combinations of Technologies
Energies 2021, 14(16), 4926; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14164926 - 11 Aug 2021
Viewed by 517
Abstract
With the integration of Intermitted Renewables Energy (I-RE) electricity production, capacity is shifting from central to decentral. So, the question is if it is also necessary to adjust the current load balancing system from a central to more decentral system. Therefore, an assessment [...] Read more.
With the integration of Intermitted Renewables Energy (I-RE) electricity production, capacity is shifting from central to decentral. So, the question is if it is also necessary to adjust the current load balancing system from a central to more decentral system. Therefore, an assessment is made on the overall effectiveness and costs of decentralized load balancing, using Flexible Renewable Energy (F-RE) in the shape of biogas, Demand Side Management (DSM), Power Curtailment (PC), and electricity Storage (ST) compared to increased grid capacity (GC). As a case, an average municipality in The Netherlands is supplied by 100% I-RE (wind and solar energy), which is dynamically modeled in the PowerPlan model using multiple scenarios including several combinations of balancing technologies. Results are expressed in yearly production mix, self-consumption, grid strain, Net Load Demand Signal, and added cost. Results indicate that in an optimized scenario, self-consumption of the municipality reaches a level of around 95%, the total hours per year production matches demand to over 90%, and overproduction can be curtailed without substantial losses lowering grid strain. In addition, the combination of balancing technologies also lowers the peak load to 60% of the current peak load in the municipality, thereby freeing up capacity for increased demand (e.g., electric heat pumps, electric cars) or additional I-RE production. The correct combination of F-RE and lowering I-RE production to 60%, ST, and PC are shown to be crucial. However, the direct use of DSM has proven ineffective without a larger flexible demand present in the municipality. In addition, the optimized scenario will require a substantial investment in installations and will increase the energy cost with 75% in the municipality (e.g., from 0.20€ to 0.35€ per kWh) compared to 50% (0.30€ per kWh) for GC. Within this context, solutions are also required on other levels of scale (e.g., on middle or high voltage side or meso and macro level) to ensure security of supply and/or to reduce overall costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and the Transition toward Green Energy Production)
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Article
A Free-Market Environmentalist Transition toward Renewable Energy: The Cases of Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom
Energies 2021, 14(15), 4659; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154659 - 31 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1688
Abstract
Renewable energy (RE) is one of the most popular public policy orientations worldwide. Compared to some other countries and continents, Europe has gained an early awareness of energy and environmental problems in general. At the theoretical level, free-market environmentalism indicates that based on [...] Read more.
Renewable energy (RE) is one of the most popular public policy orientations worldwide. Compared to some other countries and continents, Europe has gained an early awareness of energy and environmental problems in general. At the theoretical level, free-market environmentalism indicates that based on the principle of private property rights, with fewer state interventionist and regulation policies, entrepreneurs, as the driving force of the market economy, can provide better services to meet the necessity of offering RE to protect the environment more effectively. Previous studies have revealed that Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom have made some progress in using the market to develop RE. However, this research did not analyze the three countries’ RE conditions from the perspective of free-market environmentalism. Based on our review of the principles of free-market environmentalism, this paper originally provides an empirical study of how Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom have partly conducted free-market-oriented policies to successfully achieve their policy goal of RE since the 1990s on a practical level. In particular, compared with Germany and Denmark, the UK has maintained a relatively low energy tax rate and opted for more pro-market measures since the Hayekian-Thatcherism free-market reform of 1979. The paper also discovers that Fredrich A. Hayek’s theories have strongly impacted its energy liberalization reform agenda since then. Low taxes on the energy industry and electricity have alleviated the burden on the electricity enterprises and consumers in the UK. Moreover, the empirical results above show that the energy enterprises play essential roles in providing better and more affordable RE for household and industrial users in the three sampled countries. Based on the above results, the paper also warns that state intervention policies such as taxation, state subsidies, and industrial access restrictions can impede these three countries’ RE targets. Additionally, our research provides reform agendas and policy suggestions to policymakers on the importance of implementing free-market environmentalism to provide more efficient RE in the post-COVID-19 era. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and the Transition toward Green Energy Production)
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Article
Cryptocurrency Mining from an Economic and Environmental Perspective. Analysis of the Most and Least Sustainable Countries
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4254; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144254 - 14 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1573
Abstract
There are different studies that point out that the price of electricity is a fundamental factor that will influence the mining decision, due to the cost it represents. There is also an ongoing debate about the pollution generated by cryptocurrency mining, and whether [...] Read more.
There are different studies that point out that the price of electricity is a fundamental factor that will influence the mining decision, due to the cost it represents. There is also an ongoing debate about the pollution generated by cryptocurrency mining, and whether or not the use of renewable energies will solve the problem of its sustainability. In our study, starting from the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), we have considered several determinants of cryptocurrency mining: energy price, how that energy is generated, temperature, legal constraints, human capital, and R&D&I. From this, via linear regression, we recalculated this EPI by including the above factors that affect cryptocurrency mining in a sustainable way. The study determines, once the EPI has been readjusted, that the most sustainable countries to perform cryptocurrency mining are Denmark and Germany. In fact, of the top ten countries eight of them are European (Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Austria, and the United Kingdom); and the remaining two are Asian (South Korea and Japan). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and the Transition toward Green Energy Production)
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Article
The Political Economy of Rent-Seeking: Evidence from Spain’s Support Policies for Renewable Energy
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4197; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144197 - 12 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 539
Abstract
This paper provides a theoretical framework to explore how the support policies for renewable energies can promote rent-seeking incentives in private firms. We develop a political economy of rent-seeking that considers the link between the regulatory decisions of political agents and the potential [...] Read more.
This paper provides a theoretical framework to explore how the support policies for renewable energies can promote rent-seeking incentives in private firms. We develop a political economy of rent-seeking that considers the link between the regulatory decisions of political agents and the potential scope of socially wasteful pursuits. We argue that systematic public support schemes bring rent-seeking as a perception shared by entrepreneurs that influencing political allocations of resources is an essential and potentially preferable source of private profit than other for-profit economic avenues. As evidence of our claims, the framework is applied to the case of Spain to illustrate the economic effects of support policies on the production and distribution of renewable energy. We find rent-seeking behavior in Spain’s renewable energy industry, and precisely that: (i) political regulations have induced market concentration and rent-seeking in renewable energy firms, (ii) these firms have required increasing regulations and premiums to survive, and (iii) energy consumers are forced to pay rent-seeking through increasingly expensive electricity bills. The analysis reveals some challenges and opportunities to drive efficient market-based policies to strengthen entrepreneurial competition and curb rent-seeking behavior. These insights have relevant proposals for the Spanish energy industry in complying with the EU Green Deal through a sustainable transition and comprehensive growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and the Transition toward Green Energy Production)
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Article
What Can Politics Learn from Management Decisions? A Case Study of Germany’s Exit from Nuclear Energy after Fukushima
Energies 2021, 14(13), 3730; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14133730 - 22 Jun 2021
Viewed by 508
Abstract
The devastating nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011, which was triggered by a tsunami in the wake of an earthquake, resulted in the decision to quickly phase out nuclear power and with it implicitly accelerated the German Energiewende (energy transition). To the [...] Read more.
The devastating nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011, which was triggered by a tsunami in the wake of an earthquake, resulted in the decision to quickly phase out nuclear power and with it implicitly accelerated the German Energiewende (energy transition). To the outside observer, the decision appeared to be spontaneous and possibly due to a distorted perception of the associated risks of nuclear power. From the decision results not only the limiting uses of private property by conventional energy providers, but the exit from nuclear energy has also implications for the energy market. As with every human, political actors decide under uncertainty and incomplete information. Based on these parameters, we emphasize that the decision of a political actor is comparable to management decision-making. The paper takes this as an opportunity to examine the political decision to phase-out nuclear energy by discussing relevant parameters from the perspective of decision theory. We plead for a mandatory consideration of economic findings, especially from decision theory and risk management in political decision-making processes, especially in matters that affect future generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and the Transition toward Green Energy Production)
Article
Improvement of Gas Generator Technology for Energy Processing of Agricultural Waste
Energies 2021, 14(12), 3642; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123642 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 394
Abstract
The article discusses the issues of increasing the energy efficiency of processing agricultural waste in a gas generator. The main goal of this technological process is the production of gas fuel from agricultural waste. This fuel is generator gas. The energy value or [...] Read more.
The article discusses the issues of increasing the energy efficiency of processing agricultural waste in a gas generator. The main goal of this technological process is the production of gas fuel from agricultural waste. This fuel is generator gas. The energy value or calorific value of the generator gas depends on the elementary composition of the solid fuel being processed (straw, animal droppings, peat, wood, carbon-containing industrial waste, etc.) and also on the conditions under which chemical reactions take place in the gas generator. In order to improve the gas generator technology, some innovative technical solutions have been proposed. The solutions are related to controlling the supply of the oxidizer (atmospheric air) to the reaction zone of the gas generator, to recuperate the thermal energy of the gas generator and the combined combustion engine of the power plant for the needs of the gasification process. The solutions are also related to the use of compensation and accumulation systems for supplying the consumer with generator gas and to the spatial positioning of the gas generator housing. The control mode of the oxidizer supply to the reaction zone of the gas generator was also investigated. The analysis of the experimental material allows us to draw a conclusion about the positive effect of control modes on the energy value of the generator gas at non-nominal consumption of generator gas by the consumer. This is a consequence of the optimization of the flow speed of the oxidant from the blowing nozzles of the gas generator. According to the tests of the chemical composition of generator gas in gas generator, depending on the number of electromagnetic valves operating, the largest CO content (approx. 17%) was with five valves, CO2 (approx. 5%) with the lower number of valves, and the O2 was with the highest number of valves. The pressure gauge (discharge in gas generator) was the biggest, according to the lower number of valves. The biggest gas consumption was approx. 6 m3/h. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and the Transition toward Green Energy Production)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: The Costs and Trade-offs of Green Central Banking: A Framework for Analysis
Authors: Radu Șimandan; Cristian Păun
Affiliation: 1. Department of Economics, Polytechnic University of Bucharest, 060042 Bucharest, Romania 2. Department of International Business and Economics, Bucharest University of Economics, 010374 Bucharest, Romania
Abstract: The participation of central banks in the fight against climate change has recently been advanced in several academic articles and policy papers. Since environmental factors may be described as financial risks, the envisaged green central banking is entrusted with the responsibility of ad-dressing environmental sustainability as a means of promoting financial stability – an undisputed goal of central banks today. Thus far, the pro side of the argument is well represented in the liter-ature, though often the benefits remain implicit: with the help of central banks via monetary and macroprudential policies, a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy would be somehow bene-ficial to all of us. With this article, we aim to add to this literature by looking at the costs and trade-offs of this course of action in light of the observation that the con side of the proposal has been only marginally addressed. We put forward a framework for the analysis of the costs and trade-offs of green central banking and verify the applicability of this framework by studying three cases of central banks for which the transition to green operation has been advanced. We find evidence that if costs and trade-offs are taken into account, the case in favor of greening cen-tral banks becomes less straightforward than is currently conveyed in the literature.

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