atw - International Journal for Nuclear Power | 04.2019


atw Vol. 64 (2019) | Issue 4 ı April

inspections and retrofits with the result that no nuclearenergy-based

electricity generation took place there

between September 2013 and August 2015. In 2018,

additional five nuclear power plants in Japan that had

been shut down after the Fukushima reactor accident were

restarted. This means that nine nuclear power plants with

a capacity of 8.7 GW are now in operation again. [2] After

the Fukushima reactor accident, the seven oldest nuclear

power plant units and the Krümmel nuclear power plant in

Germany were deprived of further operating permits.

Accordingly, the commercial operation of these eight

facilities came to an end at the beginning of August 2011.

For the remaining nine German nuclear power plants, a

staggered exit plan was envisaged, which had been

implemented in a legally binding manner by the Thirteenth

Law amending the Atomic Energy Act of 31 July 2011. Two

of the nine plants mentioned are now decommissioned.

The remaining seven nuclear power plant units will

gradually be shut down for good by the end of 2022. [3]

With a share of 38 %, coal is still the world’s most

important source of energy for power generation. The

share of coal in power generation in countries that have

economically recoverable deposits is disproportionately

high. This applies, among others, to South Africa (88 %),

Poland (78 %), India (76 %), China (67 %) and Australia

(62 %). But even in Germany (38 %) and in the USA

(31 %), coal was significantly involved in power generation

in 2017. For economic reasons, the share of coal in

power generation has fallen in the USA in recent years.

This is explained by the increased use of shale gas. In 2017,

natural gas accounted for 31 % of power generation in the

USA, the same share as coal. The situation in Germany is

different. Despite the economic viability of coal (lignite

and imported hard coal), a politically imposed complete

phase-out of coal-fired power generation is envisaged by

2038 at the latest in order to help meet the national greenhouse

gas reduction targets. [4]

With a share of 23 %, natural gas was the second-most

important energy source for power generation in 2017.

In this case as well, a disproportionately high share of this

energy source is characteristic of power generation in

countries that have large natural gas reserves. This applies

especially to the Gulf States. The share of natural gas in

power generation in Iran was 81 % in 2017, and even more

in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain at

95 %. In Saudi Arabia it was still 59 % in 2017. In the

Caspian countries, such as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and

Azerbaijan, natural gas accounts for a share of 75 % and

more. Shares of more than 60 % and sometimes significantly

higher are identified for Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and

Nigeria. In South America, Bolivia is the country with the

largest share of natural gas in power generation (around

75 %). Around half of power generation in Argentina is

based on the use of natural gas. But even in some European

countries with larger natural gas reserves, such as Russia,

the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, in 2017 the share

of natural gas in power generation was disproportionately

high at 49 % (Russia), 48 % (Netherlands) and 40 %

( United Kingdom). In Japan, a country that has practically

no fossil fuel resources of its own, the share of natural gas

(imported LNG) in power generation increased to 39 % in

2017 due to the nuclear power situation. In the USA, due to

the shale gas boom, natural gas is on a par with coal,

accounting for 31 % of power generation.

On average, oil now accounts for only 4 % of power

generation worldwide. However, in the Gulf States oil is

one of the most important generation sources. This applies

to Saudi Arabia (41 %) and even more so to Kuwait and

Iraq with oil shares of around two thirds. In Libya, around

a third of power generation is still oil based.

Prospects for power generation

by energy sources

Unlike in previous decades, the renewable energies will

cover much of the expected further growth in electricity

demand. This cannot be explained by any limitations in

reserves and resources of fossil fuels. Reserves and especially

resources are abundant. This applies above all to coal, but

also to natural gas and oil (Figures 4 to 9). Improved

extraction technologies and higher prices on global markets

have even increased the static range of reserves, defined as

reserves in relation to the current global annual production

| | Fig. 4.

Reserves and resources of non-renewable energy sources.

| | Fig. 5.

Worldwide supply of non-renewable energy sources in billion (10 9 ) tce.

| | Fig. 6.

Reserves and resources of non-renewable energy sources in billion (10 9 ) tce.



The Role of Resources and Reserves for the Global Energy Supply ı Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer

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