Is green Energy the answer to the Energy crisis?
For some time, we have been observing a change in the approach to the green energy question - for a long time we were used to treating RES installations as an expensive landscape diversification, expressing the idea of combating climate change, which is distant from our everyday life. Indeed, for several years the awareness of ecological living and functioning in society has been increasing. Therefore, it has had a direct influence on the growing sales of hybrid and electric cars, information campaigns on everyday behaviors and attitudes, making the public aware of how to care for our space and protect environment, and finally PV panels appearing more and more often on buildings - a visible example of the use of green energy.
Today, the term "energy crisis" is present not only in the news, but also in our everyday conversations. High bills for electricity, heat, and gas, rising prices of products and services that require these key raw materials have found their way into our everyday vocabulary.
Is green energy the answer to the challenges faced not only by economies, but also by individuals? The answer "yes" does not express the complexity of the mechanisms shaping the current energy situation in Poland and around the world. Green energy is still considered a much more expensive alternative to the presently used energy from fossil fuels - coal, oil, and gas. But are you sure?
The term "energy transformation” bases on two scientifically proven facts - the fossil fuels deposits will run out, and their global use is already causing irreversible climate changes that we cannot reverse, but we can fight to slow them down. Since 2016, when the Paris Agreement was signed during the UN climate conference, and 195 countries - signatories of the Agreement declared to take action to limit global warming and combat climate change, legal regulations have been introducing to nationals’ legal systems forcing many sectors to implement the recommendations of the Agreement. Poland, as a member of the European Union, all whose member states have ratified the Paris Agreement, is obliged to incorporate into its legal system the regulations adopted by the EU as part of the FitFor55 - the EU’s plan for a green transition, preceded by the Green Deal political declaration regarding the reduction of EU economies' emissions until becoming climate-neutral in 2050.
Energy from renewable sources, the development of alternative fuels, and the use of low-emission technologies will contribute to slowing down climate change and providing us and the next generation with a green and healthy environment to live in. Unfortunately, due to the current economic situation reflected by the high costs of raw materials and the disruption of their supply chain caused by Russia's policy and the ongoing war in Ukraine, the fight for the climate is moved to the background.
The foundations of the economics and individuals’ security is guaranteed by the access to affordable energy and its stable supply. The beginning of the energy crisis is commonly associated with the outbreak of war in Ukraine, which certainly complicated the situation on the global energy market and threatened the stability of the key raw materials supplies. However, its symptoms had occurred several months earlier. Starting from natural phenomenon such as droughts, through the Covid pandemic and caused by it destabilization of national economies, through political decisions, and pro-climate regulations starting to apply, to unexpected power plant failures and energy deficits in the national power grids - even before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the energy commodities market experienced unprecedented destabilization, which translated into sharp rise in the prices of raw materials and fuels.
All these factors proven that providing the power supply diversity, including the development of own power generation facilities, is not only building the independency from the national power grid, but also creates an opportunity to optimize its cost. So far, cheap conventional energy, produced from fossil fuels, due to the supply chain interruptions, caused directly or indirectly (such as the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline explosions) by the Russia’s aggressive policy and the increase in the cost of its production by CO2 emission fees, has unexpectedly become a very expensive commodity determining the proper functioning of the economies and our everyday lives.
Own energy sources or getting it from independent - other than conventional power plants operating within the national power system – suppliers, are not the only element of the secured and cost-effective energy management system that we need today. Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and managing the current energy, gas, system heat consumption – all of these together complement the model that will guarantee safe, secured and stable functioning in the era of the energy crisis.
In the following articles, we will introduce you to the ways of producing energy from renewable sources and the directions in which renewable energy technologies are developing. We will not forget about other elements of effective energy management, such as energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption. We are glad that within the new area of activity of Miastprojekt Wrocław, related to green energy and sustainable development, we will be able to provide you with information on the use of various tools and solutions in the field of energy and green technologies, which are not only optimize the operating costs of companies, but also implement the recommendations of the sustainable development goals, focused on fighting the climate change and caring for the environment we live in.
Magdalena Dąbrowicz-Rzeczycka Chief Sustainability Officer | Miastoprojekt Wrocław