Hansen, M. L. (2022). Luxembourg’s energetic self-sufficiency in the wake of the energy transition. a potential analysis [Master Thesis, Technische Universität Wien]. reposiTUm. https://doi.org/10.34726/hss.2022.103448
Energy efficiency; energy self-sufficiency; energy transition; Luxembourg
There is academic consensus that shifting away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is crucial in order to mitigate human-induced climate change. However, there is no unanimity on how to structure the energy transition. To this day, the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg has always been strongly dependent on energy imports due to the absence of any major domestic fossil fuel deposits. Renewable energies on the other hand, are not dependent on fuels and can also be generated at the domestic level. However, in Luxembourg this potential has only been exploited to a marginal level. Most electricity is being imported and the import capacities are currently being expanded in order to ease the sectoral electrification. This paper wants to offer an alternative to the current energy strategy by assessing Luxembourg ́s potential energy self-sufficiency. Firstly, the benefits and throwbacks of domestic energy production are presented. Secondly, the government ́s current efforts and projections for 2030 are outlined before analysing the current energy mix and consumption patterns. Thirdly, the potential of efficiency measures is studied before evaluating the maximal energy demand reduction possible until 2030. Finally, the domestic potential of solar, wind and biomass are estimated and subsequently, various models of self-sufficiency thoroughly studied. The research concludes that domestic electricity production offers a range of benefits, such as improved cost-efficiency, reduced environmental impact and social benefits like employment offers. However, climatic unpredictability, grid capacities and limitations in storage discourage full energy autarky. International exchange remains important in order to mitigate surplus energy production and import during periods of low production. This being said, in order to reach a maximum in energetic self-sufficiency, the energy demand has to be reduced through efficiency measures such as the electrification of transport and heating appliances. In addition, Luxembourg offers a large potential of yet unexploited renewable energy sources despite the spatial limitations. By harvesting these and implementing the necessary efficiency measures, Luxembourg may reach an optimum of 30 % to 50 % of energetic self-sufficiency. Any level above this has been proven unfeasible as it is either detrimental for the environment, uneconomic due to necessary infrastructure expansion or would lack public support.