Special Issue "Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 April 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Prafula Pearce
E-Mail
Guest Editor
School of Business and Law, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA 6027, Australia
Interests: energy policy; environmental sustainability; global issues law and policy; tax policy; transportation
Prof. Dr. Tina Soliman Hunter
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Law, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland AB24 3FX, UK
Interests: oil and gas law; offshore wind energy law and regulation; the role of shale gas in the energy transition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental sustainability for the energy industry, and especially oil and gas, is of great concern for governments and policy makers. The demand for oil and gas remains high, and policies are required to reduce the demand for these non-renewable resources to more sustainable forms of energy. Sustainability is now at the centre of strategy and investment decisions, with major investments being made towards renewable energy.

Many players in the oil and gas industry are making increasingly sizable investments in companies and technologies that bring renewable, low-carbon energy to consumers and attempt to reduce their own environmental and carbon footprints.

Technology advancements have also broadened the scope and pace of growth for low-carbon energy, autonomous and electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and distributed energy. Transportation is still heavily reliant on petrol and diesel, and policies are encouraging the shift toward sustainable and reduced carbon usage.

This Special Issue of Energies seeks to attract articles on policy, law, and taxation that address the opportunities of energy transition that are sustainable as well as economically and socially acceptable. We encourage the submission of articles that explore issues involved in advancing the oil, gas, and renewable energy community in order to meet the world’s energy demand in a safe, environmentally responsible, and sustainable manner.

Prof. Dr. Prafula Pearce
Prof. Dr. Tina Soliman Hunter
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 papers will be 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 2200 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 transition
  • Energy security
  • Renewable energy
  • Oil and gas
  • Climate change
  • Energy storage
  • Future batteries industry
  • Energy policy
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Low-carbon energy
  • Autonomous and electric vehicles

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Article
Duty to Address Climate Change Litigation Risks for Australian Energy Companies—Policy and Governance Issues
Energies 2021, 14(23), 7838; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14237838 - 23 Nov 2021
Viewed by 317
Abstract
The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy requires cooperation from all, including corporations, shareholders, and institutional investors. The purpose of this paper is to explore climate change litigation risks for Australian energy companies and investors from a policy and governance perspective. Companies [...] Read more.
The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy requires cooperation from all, including corporations, shareholders, and institutional investors. The purpose of this paper is to explore climate change litigation risks for Australian energy companies and investors from a policy and governance perspective. Companies are increasingly reporting their climate policies to satisfy their shareholders and investor demands. In addition, the government and judiciary are making laws and decisions to support the Paris Agreement. This paper explores whether company directors can and, in some cases, should be considering the impact of climate change litigation risks on their business, or else risk breaching their obligation to exercise care and diligence under the Corporation Act 2001 (Cth, Australia). The paper concludes that in addition to reducing climate change litigation risks, Australian energy companies and institutional investment bodies that invest in Australian energy companies can make informed climate risk decisions by aligning their investments with the goal of net-zero or reduced emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
Article
Transition to Zero Energy and Low Carbon Emission in Residential Buildings Located in Tropical and Temperate Climates
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4253; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144253 - 14 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 589
Abstract
Different methods to achieve zero-energy and low carbon on the scale of a building are shown by most of the research works. Despite this, the recommendations generally offered by researchers do not always correspond to the realities found during the construction of new [...] Read more.
Different methods to achieve zero-energy and low carbon on the scale of a building are shown by most of the research works. Despite this, the recommendations generally offered by researchers do not always correspond to the realities found during the construction of new buildings in a determined region. Therefore, a standard may not be valid in all climate regions of the world. Being aware of this fact, a study was carried out to analyse the design of new buildings respecting the “zero-energy and low carbon emission” concept in tropical climatic regions when they are compared with a base case of temperate regions. To reach this objective, the comparison between real and simulated data from the different buildings studied was developed. The results showed that the renovation of existing residential buildings allows for reducing up to 35% of energy demand and a great quantity of CO2 emissions in both climate types. Despite this, the investment rate linked to the construction of zero-energy buildings in tropical zones is 12 times lower than in temperate zones and the payback was double. In particular, this effect can be related to the efficiency of photovoltaic panels, which is estimated to be, at least, 34% higher in tropical zones than temperate zones. Finally, this study highlights the interest and methodology to implement zero-energy buildings in tropical regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
The Impact of Atmospheric Precipitation on Wastewater Volume Flowing into the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Nowy Targ (Poland) in Terms of Treatment Costs
Energies 2021, 14(13), 3806; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14133806 - 24 Jun 2021
Viewed by 393
Abstract
This study determined the influence of precipitation occurring in the sewerage catchment basin in Nowy Targ (Poland) on the amount of wastewater inflow to the wastewater treatment plant, and determined the costs resulting from the treatment of accidental (rain) water entering the analyzed [...] Read more.
This study determined the influence of precipitation occurring in the sewerage catchment basin in Nowy Targ (Poland) on the amount of wastewater inflow to the wastewater treatment plant, and determined the costs resulting from the treatment of accidental (rain) water entering the analyzed sewerage system. The research was conducted from 2016 to 2019, for which daily precipitation and average daily wastewater inflows in the so-called dry, normal, and very wet periods were analyzed. The research period was divided into six characteristic intervals in terms of precipitation. It was found that, on days with different precipitation intensity, the amount of accidental water as a proportion of the total amount of wastewater flowing into the plant ranges from 9.6% to 34.1%. The annual costs incurred by the operator resulting from the environmental fee are 1625.8 EUR/year. Alternatively, the costs resulting from financial expenditures for wastewater treatment processes amount to 337,651 EUR/year. The results of the research provide important information for sewage network operators to take effective actions to eliminate illegal connections of roof gutters and/or yard inlets to the sanitary collectors, and to replace the combined sewage system in Nowy Targ with a distributed sewerage system. This would reduce the costs of wastewater treatment and the irregularity of wastewater inflow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
“Oil is the New Data”: Energy Technology Innovation in Digital Oil Fields
Energies 2020, 13(21), 5547; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13215547 - 23 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 576
Abstract
Digital oil fields (DOFs) are built on data produced from energy technology innovation during the application of new technologies to oil resource development. In this study, this conversion is examined through the paradigm switch to “oil is the new data”. An analysis of [...] Read more.
Digital oil fields (DOFs) are built on data produced from energy technology innovation during the application of new technologies to oil resource development. In this study, this conversion is examined through the paradigm switch to “oil is the new data”. An analysis of related patents shows that DOF technology is developing through convergence and close links with other industries, specifically the equipment, parts, and material industries. Additionally, it is conjectured that the strategic preemption of standards will emerge as an important policy issue because a standard must be established for the interoperability of the elemental technologies of DOFs. Furthermore, with the expansion of DOF-related technologies, device-related technologies have also been developed. Of these device-related technologies, sensor technology specifically provides new possibilities for the development of DOFs. The significance of this study is that it explains the evolution of DOFs over the course of 10 years, which is illustrative of technological innovation in the field of energy-related development and data collection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
The Role of Electrification in the Decarbonization of Central-Western Europe
Energies 2020, 13(18), 4919; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13184919 - 19 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 687
Abstract
Scenario studies of energy transition generally point to the central role of electricity. This notion is ambiguous as its interpretation can range from an electricity-only policy to portfolios of different energy vectors with a dominance of electricity. This ambiguity adds to the uncertainty [...] Read more.
Scenario studies of energy transition generally point to the central role of electricity. This notion is ambiguous as its interpretation can range from an electricity-only policy to portfolios of different energy vectors with a dominance of electricity. This ambiguity adds to the uncertainty that already pervades today’s investment environment. This paper examines the centrality of electricity through a so-called “variational scenario” analysis with policies obtained by a mix of electricity-only and green gas penetration while maintaining constant decarbonization objectives. Electricity is a complex product that can only be further complicated by the high penetration of renewables and its interaction with the production and use of synthetic fuels. The variational scenario analysis is conducted with sufficiently fine (hourly) granularity to produce an adequate representation of these phenomena. It shows that tilting the central role of electricity to a mix of electricity and green gas offers several advantages in terms of efficiency, flexibility of investment strategies, and robustness with respect to major uncertainties. It shows that the variational scenario analysis can be extended to more complex mixes of policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Low-Carbon Energy Governance: Scenarios to Accelerate the Change in the Energy Matrix in Ecuador
Energies 2020, 13(18), 4731; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13184731 - 11 Sep 2020
Viewed by 907
Abstract
This article describes the results of a study of Ecuador’s energy status, using the system dynamics methodology to model supply, demand and CO2 emissions scenarios for the year 2030. Primary energy production increased in the different projected scenarios, with oil as the [...] Read more.
This article describes the results of a study of Ecuador’s energy status, using the system dynamics methodology to model supply, demand and CO2 emissions scenarios for the year 2030. Primary energy production increased in the different projected scenarios, with oil as the most important source of energy. The increase observed in final energy consumption was mainly associated with the transport and industry sectors. A reduction in energy intensity was projected for the different scenarios, which could be associated with the projected economic growth. The results obtained were used to build a proposal for energy policies aimed at mitigating emissions. The proposed changes to the national energy matrix could be the factors that will contribute most to the achievement of carbon emission reductions projected by the different scenarios; changes in the energy matrix are mainly associated with the development of projects to replace fossil fuels with renewable energies, mainly hydropower. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Energetic, Economic and Environmental (3E) Assessment and Design of Solar-Powered HVAC Systems in Pakistan
Energies 2020, 13(17), 4333; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13174333 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1001
Abstract
Rapid urbanization, global warming and enhanced quality of life have significantly increased the demand of indoor thermal comfort and air conditioning systems are not a luxury anymore, but a necessity. In order to fulfil this need, it is imperative to develop affordable and [...] Read more.
Rapid urbanization, global warming and enhanced quality of life have significantly increased the demand of indoor thermal comfort and air conditioning systems are not a luxury anymore, but a necessity. In order to fulfil this need, it is imperative to develop affordable and environmentally friendly cooling solutions for buildings. In this work, the 3E performance (energetic, economic and environmental) of electrically driven water-cooled vapour compression systems and thermally (solar) driven vapour absorption cooling systems are evaluated and the parameters affecting the performance of solar-driven vapour absorption systems are investigated. The energy simulation software TRNSYS is used to simulate the performance of both systems in order to fulfil the cooling needs of an industrial manufacturing building for the typical climate conditions for Lahore, Pakistan. Primary energy saving, initial investment, operational cost, and carbon footprint indices are used to analyse the performance of both systems. In addition, a parametric code is written in Python and linked with TRNSYS to perform a parametric study to investigate the effects of various parameters such as solar field size, storage tank volume, optimum annual and monthly collector angles, and flow rate in the solar field on the solar-driven vapour absorption chiller performance. The results reveal that around 5% more energy can be absorbed per collector surface area by changing the solar tilt angle on a monthly basis compared to one fixed angle. The analysis shows that electrically driven vapour compression-based cooling systems have much higher running cost and are potentially hazardous for the environment but have lower capital costs. On the other hand, solar thermal systems have lower running costs and emissions but require further reductions in the capital costs or government subsidies to make them viable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Perspectives for Mitigation of CO2 Emission due to Development of Electromobility in Several Countries
Energies 2020, 13(16), 4127; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13164127 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1282
Abstract
The creep trend method is used for the analysis of the development of electric car production in three regions: The United States, the European Union and Japan. Based on vehicle registration and population growth data for each year the creep trend method using [...] Read more.
The creep trend method is used for the analysis of the development of electric car production in three regions: The United States, the European Union and Japan. Based on vehicle registration and population growth data for each year the creep trend method using historical data for the years 2007–2017 is applied for forecasting development up to 2030. Moreover, the original method for calculating the primary energy factor (PEF) was applied to the analysis of power engineering systems in the regions investigated. The assessment of the effects of electromobility development on air quality has been performed, reduction values for pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions have been determined, which was the main objective of this manuscript. Mitigation of air pollutant emissions, i.e., carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) was estimated and compared to the eventual expected increase of emissions from power plants due to an increase of the demand for electricity. It can be concluded that electricity powered cars along with appropriate choices of energetic resources as well as electricity distribution management will play the important role to achieve the sustainable energy economy. Based on the emission reduction projections resulting from the projected increase in the number of electric cars, (corrected) emissions will be avoided in 2030 in the amount of over 14,908,000 thousand tonnes CO2 in European Union, 3,786,000 thousand tonnes CO2 in United States and 111,683 thousand tonnes CO2 in Japan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Environmental Sustainability of the Vehicle Fleet Change in Public City Transport of Selected City in Central Europe
Energies 2020, 13(15), 3869; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13153869 - 28 Jul 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 1604
Abstract
Diesel is the most used fuel for buses and other urban transport vehicles in European countries. This paper deals with impacts on emissions production from the operation of the urban public transport fleet after its renewal. To what extent can the renewal of [...] Read more.
Diesel is the most used fuel for buses and other urban transport vehicles in European countries. This paper deals with impacts on emissions production from the operation of the urban public transport fleet after its renewal. To what extent can the renewal of the urban public transport fleet in the city of Žilina contribute to increasing environmental sustainability in the way of reducing air pollution? The vehicle fleet change has partially consisted of vehicle traction system transition-diesel buses were substituted by hybrid driven (HEV) and electric driven buses (BEV). How can the direct and indirect emissions from the operation of vehicles be calculated? These were the posed research questions. The research aimed to propose a methodology for the calculation of direct and indirect emissions. Indirect emissions values (WtT—Well-to-Tank) for different types of fuels and tractions were obtained based on regression functions. These WtT emission factors together with the existing TtW (Tank-to-Wheels) emission factors (direct emissions) can be used for the assessment of environmental impacts of specific types of vehicles concerning energy source, fuel, or powertrain and type of operation. Direct pollutants such as CO, NOx and PM were calculated with the use of simulation methodology of HBEFA (Handbook of Emission Factors for Road Transport) software. The calculated CO2 savings for the period 2019–2023 about fleet renewal in absolute terms are EUR 1.3 million tons compared to the operation of the original fleet while maintaining the same driving performance. The renewal of the vehicle fleet secured by vehicle traction transition can be a way to reduce the energy intensity and environmental impacts of public transport in Žilina. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Which Institutional Conditions Lead to a Successful Local Energy Transition? Applying Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis to Solar PV Cases in South Korea
Energies 2020, 13(14), 3696; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13143696 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 870
Abstract
To explore the most desirable pathway for a successful local energy transition, a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis was conducted on 16 regional cases in South Korea. We developed four propositions based on previous studies and theories as a causal set. Based on the [...] Read more.
To explore the most desirable pathway for a successful local energy transition, a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis was conducted on 16 regional cases in South Korea. We developed four propositions based on previous studies and theories as a causal set. Based on the South Korean context, we selected the solar photovoltaic (PV) generation and solar PV expansion rate as barometers for measuring the success of a local energy transition. Our analysis highlights the importance of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) membership (network), local legislation, and the environmental surveillance of locally-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The implications of this study will provide insights for developing or newly industrialized countries where an energy transition is underway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
National Energy Transition Framework toward SDG7 with Legal Reforms and Policy Bundles: The Case of Taiwan and Its Comparison with Japan
Energies 2020, 13(6), 1387; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13061387 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1483
Abstract
The main problem explored in this study is how Taiwan and other countries meet the challenges of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals regarding energy transition by using legal instruments or policy bundles. This study adopts textual analysis and legal policy analysis as [...] Read more.
The main problem explored in this study is how Taiwan and other countries meet the challenges of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals regarding energy transition by using legal instruments or policy bundles. This study adopts textual analysis and legal policy analysis as its main form of research methodology, and the theory of energy justice, as well as principles of energy management, to correlate with the Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, this study aims to construct an analysis structure for national energy transition and to analyze the current situation within Taiwan’s electricity sector reforms, while providing evidence of the national experience of electrical industry reforms as an international reference. This study also compares the differences between the seventh Sustainable Development Goal relationship and national energy transitions in Taiwan and Japan, based on the similar initiative of the revised Electricity Act with the policy bundle. This study specifically finds that, firstly, the theory for energy justice is connected with the principles for energy management, owing to the same concepts of “Fair Competition”, via the recognition of “Energy Development and Poverty”, which correlates with “Environment Protection”. Therefore, the concept of energy transition proposed in this study integrates national energy development policy goals and combines them with environmental sustainability, the green economy, and social equity. Secondly, the national energy transition in Taiwan is a response to the Sustainable Development Goals, and electricity sector-related laws could be used as legal tools for national energy transition. This study concludes that Taiwanese and Japanese governments can strengthen their environmental regulations to promote fair competition directly, with fair competition then being able to enhance stable electricity supply, to enable these countries to move towards the seventh Sustainable Development Goal and its indicators. Finally, the analysis structure used in this study could be used as a policy analysis tool for other countries during their own energy transition, when a nation is willing to strategically reform its electricity sector and make sustainable choices regarding transition paths and policy bundles that are suitable for the situation of the individual country. Then, a nation can make revisions to its laws and formulate a policy that is in line with local conditions, while as simultaneously implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
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Review

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Review
The Current Status and Future Potential of Biogas Production from Canada’s Organic Fraction Municipal Solid Waste
Energies 2022, 15(2), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15020475 - 10 Jan 2022
Viewed by 167
Abstract
With the implementation of new policies supporting renewable natural gas production from organic wastes, Canada began replacing traditional disposal methods with highly integrated biogas production strategies. Herein, data from published papers, Canadian Biogas Association, Canada’s national statistical agency, and energy companies’ websites were [...] Read more.
With the implementation of new policies supporting renewable natural gas production from organic wastes, Canada began replacing traditional disposal methods with highly integrated biogas production strategies. Herein, data from published papers, Canadian Biogas Association, Canada’s national statistical agency, and energy companies’ websites were gathered to gain insight into the current status of anaerobic digestion plants in recovering energy and resource from organic wastes. The availability of materials prepared for recycling by companies and local waste management organizations and existing infrastructures for municipal solid waste management were examined. Governmental incentives and discouragements in Canada and world anaerobic digestion leaders regarding organic fraction municipal solid waste management were comprehensively reviewed to identify the opportunities for developing large-scale anaerobic digestion in Canada. A range of anaerobic digestion facilities, including water resource recovery facilities, standalone digesters, and on-farm digesters throughout Ontario, were compared in terms of digestion type, digester volume, feedstock (s), and electricity capacity to better understand the current role of biogas plants in this province. Finally, technology perspectives, solutions, and roadmaps were discussed to shape the future in terms of organic fraction municipal solid waste management. The findings suggested that the biogas industry growth in Canada relies on provincial energy and waste management policies, advanced technologies for diverting organic waste from landfills, improving biogas yield using existing pretreatment methods, and educating farmers regarding digester operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Environmental Sustainability)
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