Mark Jacobson is Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Woods Institute for the Environment and Senior Fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy.
The restriction imposed by COVID-19 has caused a decrease in energy demand. How do you think the market will react in the near future? In the post-emergency phase, what could the sector look like?
The demand reduction has resulted in a greater decrease in fossil fuel use than renewable energy use. I think this will also translate into a greater increase in renewable energy use relative to fossil fuel use post-emergency.
The post lockdown debate concerns measures that can stimulate recovery and favor economic development. To exit the crisis, from many quarters comes the indication to focus and invest in renewables. What is your opinion on this?
I think it is necessary to increase renewable spending to speed a transition away from fossil fuels. A recovery focused on spending on renewables will not only accomplish this goal but will also revitalize the economy.
A recent analysis by CESI shows the need to implement, even more quickly, the imperative flexibility measures in managing a system with high penetration of renewables, especially from a COVID and post COVID-19 perspective. In your opinion, what are the most urgent investment to be made in the electricity sectors?
We should invest in batteries and other electricity storage option together with wind, water, and solar (WWS) generation technologies. In addition, by electrifying building water and air heating with heat pumps; by electrifying transportation; and by electrifying industrial heat, we can make it easier to match electricity demand with electricity supply due to the flexibility of heating and transportation, so we should invest in these transitions as well.