London, UK [Renewable Energy World Magazine] It is fair to say that the world has entered 2010 and a new decade on an undercurrent of uncertainty rather than wave of hope. A fragile global economy, inconclusive international action on climate change and apprehension over the shifting balance of geopolitical power are some of the reasons.
For renewable energy this will be a defining 10 years, hopefully seeing renewables assume the central role we all believe they can as a central plank of global energy policy and business. An important part of that process will be a continuing evolution of how the renewables sector is viewed, and in some cases how it views itself.
It was interesting to hear how a speaker from Greenpeace, best known for good old-fashioned environmental activism, used renewables as part of a recent debate over the security of gas supply held at the UK’s House of Commons involving academics, special interest groups and politicians. Like many nations the UK is pondering the best way to address issues of security and consistency of energy supply.
During the debate, the speaker from Greenpeace pointed out that renewables offer significant opportunities to address this, on the basis that the most reliable form of imported energy is the energy you don’t need to import, if it can be replaced by alternatives at home. Renewables thus become an element of the energy security equation and, happily for those of us in its camp, part of the solution.
The extent of their potential contribution will remain a moot point for sure, but it is important that renewable energy is seen in contexts other than the fight against climate change. That isn’t to downgrade for a moment the significance of climate change (as some would love to do) but to reinforce the point wherever possible that renewables have a role to play in meeting other key challenges too.
That helps to place renewables firmly in the mainstream, which is where they need to be. The increasing willingness of major utilities to invest in large scale renewable projects, when the market and policy environment is right, can only help this process. Since it launched in 1998, Renewable Energy World has played a proud and important role in assisting and charting the evolution of renewable energy, and as Chief Editor I hope to carry on that good work.
Chief Editor, Renewable Energy World
PS: Many of you will be planning your diaries for the year, so here is a key date to add now. We hope to welcome you to Renewable Energy World Europe in Amsterdam on 8-10 June. For full details visit www.renewableenergyworld-europe.com.