The Lost Innocence of Renewables

The Lost Innocence of Renewables

The Lost Innocence of Renewables – How to Teach Renewable Energy Technology Without Neglecting Undesirable Side Effects

by Konrad Blum, former PPRE lecturer and co-founder of PPRE, presented at Strömstad Academy, Sweden in June 2018

When after the oil crises in the seventies and eighties of the last century and especially after the publication of Limits to Growth of the Club of Rome, the public focus shifted to a future without fossil fuel. Renewables became a quasi ‘religious’ promise for a better world. After a period dominated by enthusiastic pioneers in universities and newly found start-up companies, industrialization and commercialization of what had been ‘small and beautiful’ grew big. Dissatisfied with side effects of the implementation of big-scale technology ,citizens started movements against wind farm projects and nature preservation organizations were fighting renewable energy projects. Biodiversity issues as well concern about the well being of rural populations emerged. With increased technical sophistication and the concentration process in RE industry, public opinion became more and more critical. Enthusiasm of students in RET study programs about their selected subject thus needs counterbalance by educating them on the side effects of uncritical and mainly profit-oriented implementation of RETs.

Keywords: Side Effects, Renewables, Education, Sustainability, Barriers

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(Changed: 2020-01-23)