by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
According to calculations by Dutch consultancy CE Delft, households and businesses could meet 45% of the continent’s power demand using their own solar panels and wind turbines.
The study, commissioned by Greenpeace, the European Renewable Energy Federation, Friends of the Earth and REScoop.eu, sees so-called ‘energy citizens’ producing 611 TWh of electricity by 2030 – a fifth of Europe’s forecast demand.
That number could growth to 1,557TWh over the subsequent two decades, boosting energy independence and supporting countries’ renewable energy and climate change targets.
A more granular look at the data shows community projects representing 37% of this 2050 scenario, small businesses make up 39%, households produce 23% and public entities are behind that final 1%.
This same study also outlines the possible role demand-side response can play in this energy devolution, with seven in 10 Europeans able to use the smart energy technology by the middle of the decade.
The potential of all this independently sourced energy, however, can only be reached if European policies such as the Renewable Energy Directive are revised to support energy citizens, the environmental groups argue.
But this is all a case of could because the powers-that-be (and which really should not be) are far too deep in the pockets of the energy generating giants and the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industry to ever enable this to happen and that regardless of the way things are going.
We could, and could have already for decades and decades, be using methane (sewage gas and from landfills)for cooking, heating and powering electricity generating plants but that has not happened and is not happening. While methane still gives off pollution (no, I am not going to call it carbon emissions) because it is still burned the fact that it is a renewable resource in that we can generate it from, well waste, including human waste, has a few good things going for it. The first electricity generating plants were once intended to be used with methane gas from the sewers. Enter the coal, oil and gas lobby and the rest is history, as they say.
What is missing is the political will and that because the majority of all politicians, of all persuasions, are deep in the pockets of the particular industries who would lose out when renewables enter the game in this way.
Therefore I, for one, am not about to hold my breath, regardless of the fact that such a positive outcome of this study.