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Power Shift: In the Energy Sector, Change Is the Only Constant

The constantly shifting landscape of world energy production is having an impact on every sector, as new technologies emerge and social priorities evolve. For ports, there are two main implications.

By Sarah B. Hood

The constantly shifting landscape of world energy production is having an impact on every sector, as new technologies emerge and social priorities evolve. For ports, there are two main implications. On one hand, since many energy sources are transportable commodities, they represent a substantial proportion of the world’s cargo traffic. On the other, as more major corporations move toward implementing sustainability policies, every link in the supply chain is increasingly being asked to demonstrate the sustainability of its own operations by reducing its energy consumption.

When it comes to fuel, international traffic routes are undergoing a radical shift. Developing countries are creating new demand, says Barry Worthington, executive director of the United States Energy Association (USEA), who offered a forecast of today’s energy industry at the AAPA Energy & Environment Seminar in Vancouver in September 2016. He points out that the Chinese economy is growing as the country’s GDP increases, and countries like India, Indonesia, Vietnam and parts of Africa, where many people have never had access to electricity, are rapidly expanding their electrical grids.

“Right now, about 1.1 billion people have no access to commercial energy, and about another 1.1 billion don’t have adequate access to commercial energy,” he says, adding that they are all expected to be connected to the grid by the mid-2000s. Furthermore, the global population is projected to rise by about 2 billion by 2050, “so you’re going to see the need to provide energy service to almost double the number that’s receiving service today.”

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