Our life style impacts the environment!
Humanity’s environmental footprint has been deepening rapidly in the past decades placing our generation, and the ones to come, in great environmental risks and ‘ecological debts’ requiring immediate actions.
The uncontrollable exploitation of natural resources in a continuous industrial, technological and structural development that has been proved ‘unsustainable’, have placed great deteriorating pressure to the environment – leading to the depletion of natural resources and deterioration of climatic equilibrium.
The global energy consumption has been increasing dramatically in the past years; the majority of energy requirements of modern civilisations, mainly for the production of electricity and transportation, are primarily sourced from fossil fuels, such as oil and gas. This has lead not just to the depletion of natural resources but also to the erosion of the ecosystem; consumption of fossils increases concentrations of harmful gasses, such as SO2, CH4 and CO2 into the atmosphere which lead to global warming through green-house effect.
In our era, we are eventually being bombarded with tons of environmental solutions aiming to meet with, long-ignored, contemporary environmental challenges. So called ‘green’ solutions include shifting towards renewable energy resources through renewable technologies, increasing energy efficiency and adopting alternative practices that do not harm the environment – ‘that much’!
In order to facilitate this shift, nations worldwide, and primarily EU member states, have cooperated for the formulation of a new economical and political system that will transform future global systems towards environmental, economical and social sustainability. Examples of such initiatives are the Kyoto agreement and other legislative measures that EU member states are implementing either to penalise – monetarily – environmental misconducts, such as CO2 emissions, or to provide economical incentives for investments in green solutions – some examples are subsidies on electricity produced from renewable energy sources, capital subsidies for construction of green buildings, funding for environmental technology research, etc.
Apart from devising measures and solutions aiming to place the environmentally preferable practice in a position to be also ‘economically preferable’, people need to develop a new sense – intuitive environmental awareness. In this respect, we start with a simple, memorable environmental equation with two variables and one result:
By reducing our energy demands we reduce consumption of fossil fuels thus reduce our harm to the environment. In addition, by using renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydro energy in place of fossil fuels (non-renewable) we reduce further our consumption of fossil fuels (harmful emissions), thus further reduce our harm to the environment.
Further analysis of these variables shows that reducing our energy demands can be achieved by adopting energy-saving practices such as, promoting green buildings, increasing energy performance of buildings and appliances, shifting towards a more efficient electricity network through distributed power supply and minimizing energy-waste.
Similarly, reduction of fossil fuel consumption entails increasing penetration of renewable energy sources within the global energy mix; natural resources can substitute fossil fuels in the production of electricity whereas ‘next generation technologies’, such as fuel cells and hydrogen, can be the environmental solution for both utility power supply and transportation.
The EU has already set specific targets in all areas of energy conduct based on a broader energy vision and policy – an important milestone is 2020 by which time EU member states aim to fully commercialize renewable energy technologies (including next generation techs) and to increase penetration of renewables to a share of 20% of total energy production. By 2020 member states additionally aim to increase energy efficiency in all sectors and to achieve a reduction of the primary energy use by 20%. In an effort to accomplish the EU energy objectives, member states are adopting measures, policies and directives to involve and influence all levels and stakeholders, private and public sector, in meeting with these objectives. In their effort to accomplish EU energy targets, including RES penetration, EU member states are adopting and incentives to involve the private sector in meeting with these objectives.
Through this blog I wish to discuss on EU renewable energy practices such as acknowledging targets and the degree of conformance, identifying RES technologies, assessing the appropriateness of different RES technologies, influence of subsidies and tariff levels amongst EU member states, etc.
Constructive, critical comments are always welcome!Author : Renewcapa