13 Dec 2023

World Energy Conservation Day
Save Energy for Endless Use

ESG Innovation Product

How long has it been since humans forgot to realize that the energy we use in our daily lives is finite? This oversight is due to our reliance on electrical appliances, vehicles, and other conveniences that we take for granted, neglecting the fact that these items continuously consume energy in the background.

World Energy Conservation Day was established to highlight the importance of energy conservation and to promote the efficient use of energy.

Why is Energy Conservation Necessary?

The reason we need to value and use energy efficiently is not only because it is limited but also because many people in various regions still suffer from energy scarcity or endure hardship due to insufficient production capacity throughout the year. This situation arises due to geographical and climatic conditions, developmental factors of countries, infrastructure, and also energy crises caused by international conflicts. These crises can lead to energy shortages even in developed countries.

"Africa: A Hub of Clean Energy Facing Energy Poverty"

In Africa, countries have long struggled with energy scarcity, especially before the boom of clean energy. The population of the African continent was forced to rely on biomass energy from wood and coal, which was outdated, inefficient, and environmentally unfriendly. However, with the era of clean energy, many countries in this region have become significant producers of wind energy. For example, Kenya aims to achieve 100 percent reliance on clean energy. Yet, many countries, particularly in rural areas, still lack access to energy sources and do not have electricity.

Clean energy might be the best solution for this continent, but solving the energy shortage is not an easy task. South Africa, the most developed country in the region and a major energy producer in Africa, faces the challenge of transitioning to clean energy. Almost all of its energy was traditionally produced by coal-fired power plants. Wind and solar energy are still not sufficient to meet the demand. These unresolved issues are compounded by the inefficiency of electricity producers in the country, leading to frequent power cuts. This affects both the quality of life of the people and economic activities, causing long-term regression.

"Energy Crisis Amidst War Conditions"

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, a conflict that the whole world is watching, has intensified with no immediate resolution in sight. This has significantly impacted the energy security of many countries, particularly those in Europe that rely on Russian energy sources and experience heightened energy demands during the winter season. Some countries are facing severe energy shortages, and some have had to limit the energy usage of their citizens.

For example, Poland, affected by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, has ceased 100% of its coal imports from Russia. This led to a coal shortage of 1-2 million tons needed for electricity production in the winter. Consequently, the Polish government had to inject more than one billion euros to support households in installing home insulation and efficient heating systems. France is pushing the Energy Sobriety plan, aiming to reduce energy usage by 10% from 2019 levels by 2024, to decrease its dependence on Russian natural gas, which accounts for one-fifth of the country's consumption. Germany has reduced its natural gas imports from Russia from 55% to 35% and has committed to stopping all energy imports from Russia. This crisis has led to soaring energy costs, turning into an economic crisis that impacts nations in a domino effect.

The examples above illustrate the energy uncertainty every country faces. This includes risks from energy management, environmental limitations, and reactive approaches to energy crises without adequate preparation for the future.

The Definition of Efficient Energy Use

Given the unavoidable risks in energy, how can we achieve energy security? One universal solution is energy conservation, which involves collaborative efforts to reduce energy usage. This means using energy wisely and only as necessary, preserving it for long-term sustainability. Actions can start at an individual and household level, like saving electricity or using public transportation, extend to organizational and industrial levels, such as managing energy in businesses, and even to national levels through policy formulation and legal controls over energy usage.

Beyond reducing energy use, efficient energy use is another path to sustainable energy conservation. Many might wonder how energy conservation differs from energy efficiency. Here is the answer.

Energy efficiency is a term widely used in contemporary energy-related articles. It refers to the improved effectiveness of energy usage compared to the past. This means using the same or less energy but achieving greater outcomes. For example, LED light bulbs use less electricity but provide more brightness. On the other hand, energy conservation focuses on reducing energy use or saving energy, such as turning off lights when not in use, switching off air conditioners during lunch breaks, or pausing machinery operations at certain times.

SCGC, a leader in Chemicals Business for Sustainability, is creating innovations to enhance energy efficiency. SCGC has developed a first-of-its-kind industrial furnace coating innovation in Thailand, emisspro®. This product is designed to improve the efficiency of combustion furnaces by enhancing the heat radiation transfer of coated surfaces. It helps in reducing fuel usage and emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

The emisspro® product line is divided into two categories to meet different operational needs:

emisspro® R-Series is a furnace coating product used for coating all types of refractory materials, including insulating refractory bricks, fiberglass insulation, lightweight refractory bricks, and high-density refractory cement. It can withstand temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Celsius, extending the lifespan of the furnace and reducing fuel consumption by up to 5% annually.

emisspro® T-Series is a tube surface coating product that improves the absorption of heat radiation in industrial furnaces. It protects against acid and chemical corrosion, prolongs lifespan, and importantly, reduces fuel consumption by up to 5% per year and cuts down CO2 emissions by over 100,000 tons annually.

Access to Sustainable Energy

The ability to access energy is fundamental to improving the quality of life for people. Recognizing its importance, the United Nations has identified it as a key component in creating sustainability within the global societal context. It has been designated as one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 7): Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. This goal encompasses three specific targets:

7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.

7.2 By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

7.3 By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

7.A By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology.

7.B By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries.

For the global population to access energy sustainably, it is essential that this energy is clean, renewable, and does not harm the environment. During the 'Global Expert Group' meeting organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and UN-Energy on 11-12 May 2023, experts from various sectors worldwide agreed that access to clean energy is directly linked to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set to be accomplished by 2030.

Discussions from the meeting further indicated that if the rate of global electricity access continues to increase at the current pace—from 84% in 2000 to 91% in 2020, or just 7% over 20 years—more than 1.9 billion people worldwide will still lack access to clean cooking energy by 2030. This is particularly critical in African regions that still lack energy access. Effective collaboration from multiple sectors is essential to ensure access to clean energy in these areas.

Looking back at our country, while most Thai people have access to electricity and various forms of energy, there are still people in areas outside the service zones of the Provincial Electricity Authority and the Metropolitan Electricity Authority who cannot access electricity. They must rely on alternative energy sources for power generation, such as solar cells. Additionally, rising electricity costs due to increasing energy expenses may further limit access to electricity for some groups. Therefore, developing clean energy technologies to replace electricity from conventional sources can help more people gain access to energy.

SCGC remains steadfast in innovating energy solutions. Hence, it has developed the SCGC Floating Solar Solutions, floating platforms for installing solar panels, enhancing the efficiency of solar energy use. Made from environmentally friendly materials, it has a lifespan of over 25 years, catering to the global megatrend of alternative energy sought by many regions worldwide.

It is evident that clean energy is one of the future energy options that will unlock access to energy for people around the world. It will provide electricity and the energy necessary to power daily routines. In particular, the use of solar energy or solar cells is a form of energy accessible to anyone. If innovations are developed to effectively harness solar power, it is believed that life quality on Earth will improve compared to the past, with unlimited energy access.

How will the future of world energy change? How far has the evolution of human energy come? Read more in the article: Alternative Energy and Transition to Energy Sustainability.

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