atw - International Journal for Nuclear Power | 04.2019


atw Vol. 64 (2019) | Issue 4 ı April


| | Fig. 7.

Worldwide distribution of coal reserves in billion (10 9 ) tce.

| | Fig. 8.

Worldwide distribution of oil and natural gas reserves* in billion (10 9 ) tce.

| | Fig. 9.

Worldwide distribution of uranium reserves and resources in billion (10 9 ) tce.

(Figure 10). Reserves are to be understood as “proven

quantities of energy resources that are economically

recoverable at today’s prices and with today’s technology”.

The resources existing beyond these, defined as “proven

quantities of energy resources but which are currently

technically and/or econo mically unre cover able, as well as

not proven quantities of energy resources which are geologically

possible and recoverable in the future”, are more

than ten times as large as the reserves according to information

provided by the Federal Institute for Geosciences

and Natural Resources. [5]

Restrictions on the use of fossil energy resources exist

due to emissions of greenhouse gases associated with their

use. To meet the goals of climate protection and the

requirements of the Paris Agreement, the countries party

to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate

Change committed themselves to specific limitations on

the emission of greenhouse gases. The European Union,

for example, has made a legally binding commitment to

reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % by 2030

compared to 1990 levels. [6]

There are basically four strategies available for the

reduction of greenhouse gas emissions required for climate



Expansion of the renewable energies


Improvement of energy efficiency


Extended use of nuclear power


Capture and utilization or storage of CO 2

The governments which, through their respective policies,

determine the priorities in the orientation of the necessary

investments for the transformation of the global energy

supply, are decisive for progress in implementing these

possible paths.

In its World Energy Outlook published in November

2018, the International Energy Agency (IEA) identified

cumulative investment requirements of 2 trillion dollars

per year in the global energy supply. [7] According to IEA’s

data, more than 70 % of these investments are made by

state-run companies or are triggered by state regulation,

for example in the form of a guaranteed return. Only just

less than 30 % of global investment is private and marketdriven,

according to the IEA’s assessment in the main

scenario of the World Energy Outlook, i.e. the New Policies

Scenario. In the power supply, even more than 90 % of

the investment deemed necessary worldwide by 2040 is

government and regulation-driven (Figure 11).

In the New Policies Scenario, the IEA makes the

following statements about the level and structure of

global energy consumption and power generation by

2040: The future growth expected in primary energy

consumption, and especially in power generation, will be

met to a much greater extent than in the past by renewable

energies. Thus, the share of renewables in global

primary energy consumption will rise to 20 % in 2040. The

contribution of renewable energies to power generation is

set to grow from 25 % in 2017 to 42 % in 2040 (Figure 12).

Renewables are therefore replacing coal as the most

important source of energy for the power supply. The

largest increases are expected for solar energy and wind

power. This development is favored by the economies of

scale achieved in recent years, above all in solar plants, but

also in wind power.

Significant progress will also be made in improving

­energy efficiency, supported by public policies. This is

reflected in increasing decoupling of the development of

energy consumption from economic growth. In Germany,

this has already been observed in recent decades. Thus,

the specific energy consumption, i.e. the primary energy

consumption per unit gross domestic product, in Germany

has declined by 42 % in the period from 1990 to 2018. [8]

Similar developments are also likely to take place in other

countries in the future.

The expansion of nuclear power is restricted to

countries where the governments support this technology

with appropriate political backing. This applies particularly

to China, India, Russia and some countries of the

Middle East and Europe. In the World Energy Outlook

2018, the IEA points out that at 270 GW nuclear power will

account for only 3.5 % of the new power generation

capacity amounting to a total of 7,730 GW that is expected


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

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