Good news stories on energy efficiency and generating renewable energy exist. Don’t believe the doom-sayers who repeatedly belittle the power of sun, wind and water and ignore the importance of energy efficiency measures. The Green Christian Prayer Guide for January had a host of stories showing what is happening around the world. Here are four of them.
Energy Saving: After Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011, all but three of its 25 nuclear reactors were closed, leading to a massive 25% drop in energy generation. As a result, the whole population has become engaged in energy saving, with regular TV bulletins showing how far current consumption of electricity is within the country’s generating capacity. A yellow sign indicates that 90-95% of generating capacity is being used, orange indicates a usage of 97% of capacity, while red says, in essence “Switch off!” Large users were required to reduce consumption by 15%. Through the collective efforts of individuals, businesses and utilities, reduction targets were met within 3 months. The Environment Minister had earlier said that the reductions would not be a temporary measure, but an event to change people’s lifestyles. In the 12 months to October 2013 Japan added enough clean energy to replace the output of five nuclear reactors.
Solar not Oil: Saudi Arabia contains the world’s biggest oil reserves, yet it intends to build 41,000 MW of solar capacity – more than all Germany’s solar installations – by 2032. 80% of the nation’s revenue comes from sales of oil, but the oil will at some stage run out. Unlike Britain, with its diminishing oil resource, the Saudis have decided to invest their oil windfall in a resource which will last as long as the sun itself.
Home Grown in the UK: The Isle of Eigg in Scotland used to be owned by a series of absentee landlords. In 1997 the community got together to buy back the island for themselves. They then set up the world’s first 100% community-owned renewable energy grid. Every home on the island is now powered by a mixture of wind, small hydro and solar power, with a battery bank that stores 24 hours of back-up electricity, all managed and maintained by a community-owned company.
Wind Power leads the way: Denmark’s wind industry sprang from concern over the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. In 2013, wind power alone met one-third of the country’s electricity needs, and Denmark has exported its wind turbines all over the world. By 2035, all of Denmark’s energy demand for electricity and heating will be met from renewable energy, and it is hoped that by 2050 the country will become the first fossil-free nation on earth.
You can see the full January ‘Prayer Guide for the Care of Creation’ in the Faith section of www.greenchristian.org.uk