by Mihai Toader-Pasti, Cofounder @ energiaTa.org and Teodora Vasâlca-Cimpoi, Editor-in-Chief @ NewsEnergy.ro Romania today is facing various challenges on multiple domains,...
Energy powers everything, from lamps and smartphones to life and planets, muscles and engines, it creates molecules or splits atoms, it creates substances and products and is the source of everything. There are 4 types of kinetic energy (mechanical, thermal, electric, magnetic), 4 types of potential energy (chemical, elastic, nuclear and gravitational) and 2 others (sound and light energy) all of them necessary in different ways for the existence of life as we know it.
In the last hundred years we become dangerously dependent on electrical energy, if we will wake up tomorrow, put our devices into the socket and nothing happens, chaos will come upon developed and developing countries. No food, no water, no communication, no google search for ‘How TOs’, we will be paralysed. Hard to imagine such a scenario, but this is not something impossible nowadays.
In the last 20 years the world energy consumption doubled because of the increase in population, from 5.3b to 7.5b but also because of the use of technology. Energy consumption per capita increasing with 50% reaching 3.05MWh/capita. Unfortunately there are still over 1 billion people with no access to electricity, while 1/3 world population meaning China, US and EU are consuming more than half of the energy.
Energy is world’s most important contributor to GHG emissions being responsible for 60% of CO2 emissions while also polluting the soil, water and air. We have to transit to a world with local production and consumption of clean and affordable energy. Today only 20% of global electricity production comes from renewable.
Democratising energy is the solution to world energy trilemma: energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability. The best solution may be solar energy. Every 15 minutes of sun are enough to power a year’s usage of humanity. This is the amount of wireless energy that touches the Earth. What we need is a system to capture that energy – solar panels, a system to store the energy between day and night and the possibility to do so. We are still subsidising fossil-fuels energy production around the world when we could invest in R&D, adoption of renewables and changing the legislation around to world to smart mattering and smart grids to encourage prosumers. This is also the best solution for more than 1.06 billion people that still don’t have access to electricity.
Shifting towards a decentralised model will also turn passive consumers into both shareholders and stakeholders with active interest and influence in the direction of the energy system becoming more responsible for the energy consumption and efficiency.