100% Renewable Energy – The Only Way Forward
The world’s leading scientists have issued a mandate that we must change our energy system to a sustainable one based on conservation, efficiency and renewable energy in the near future or risk losing planetary habitability. The energy transition is not a lifestyle choice; it is an essential way to combat climate change and save our planet. Fukushima and BP’s Deepwater Horizon catastrophe are only the most recent reminders of the hazards of our current energy system. Energy infrastructure is outdated and much of the world’s power generation capacity is nearing the end of its life. Major investment decisions to modernize the world’s energy system are unavoidable. Now is the time for the energy transformation.
Powering a region with 100% renewable energy has been technically and economically feasible for a long time and is becoming reality all across Europe today. Feed-in tariffs kick started this development. Our task now is to adapt policy frameworks on all governance levels to this reality and to further develop best policies, like the feed-in tariff, because enabling policy frameworks on the national level trigger citizen participation and action on the local level. In order to set the scene for 100% renewables, the following policy principles are needed:
– provide market access for newcomers like citizens
– provide investment security to enable people to put their money on the right technology
– ensure direct benefits to communities
– increase efficiency of the energy system by combining heat and power
– create a level playing field between the renewable energies sector and fossil fuel industry
To that end, knowledge transfer and exchange between policy makers are vital. Networks between trailblazing countries must be established all over the continent to realize the implementation of a European energy transition to 100% renewable energies. Despite numerous good practices and successful policy instruments, this message does not always get through to policy makers in governments. We need to facilitate dialogue so that countries can learn from the invaluable experiences of other countries in order to avoid wasting scarce resources.
Tuesday, January 8th, 2013