Why isn’t there a clear roadmap for Europe’s future energy supply in the year 2050? Corporate Responsibility manager Marga Edens of RWE starts a new series in P+ People Planet Profit on the choices that are still ahead of us.
Why this series? It’s because each journey has a purpose. This should also apply to Europe’s future energy supply in the year 2050. Oddly enough, a clear roadmap or itinerary is missing. Neither the crossings on the journey have been mapped out.
This is why P+ starts this discussion on the crossroads in the energy policy of Europe. We invited corporate Responsibility manager Marga Edens of energy company RWE to collect the data, since she is working in the ‘kitchen’ of an European energy-organisation, based in Germany but active in several European countries.
Marga Edens does what every traveller does before departure. What definitely needs to be taken on a journey? Where can we change our destinations when we are already on the way? Eventually she decides to make a personal statement: “This is something I would really like to see and experience myself...”
In this issue of P+ Marga introduces herself: “Since 1 July 2012 I am Vice President for Corporate Responsibility at RWE AG in Essen, Germany. If I now look out of my attic window, several decades and changes of address further on, then the dilemma is very tangible. Looking to the right I can see the chimneys of a large power station, silhouetted against the horizon. To the left, I can see the solar panels on my neighbours’ roof. Should I also have had solar panels installed? But now I am a customer of the energy company that I am working for. And I at least have green energy... As I turn the heating down a degree, my doubts remain. Have I made the right choice? Can I still make another choice? What are my actual choices anyway? These are questions at a micro level, but they are also questions that we should be asking ourselves at a macro level.”
And: “How should energy be provided? Has it not already been decided by energy accords, European Directives and global agreements? Or will we still have to make important choices between now and 2050? And what will those choices be? Some decisions appear to be set in stone, such as the investments made in large gas, coal and nuclear power plants, or in large offshore wind farms. Everything settled then?”
On the basis of six questions Edens will show over the next year that there are indeed choices to be made: “Choices that we face as a society and that are not simply left to ‘the energy companies’ or ‘the government’. But that are made by all of us, as citizens.”
1. Can we influence our energy use, and why would we want to?
2. Should we make energy cheaper or more expensive? What are the consequences for households and industry?
3. Is small really beautiful, or should we set limits on the amount of locally generated renewable energy?
4. Should we see CO2 as a problem or as a product? And how can we influence emissions?
5. What do we want to know about the origin of our fuels? And what must we know?
6. How should we use energy for a circular economy? Are multiple partners desirable?
In the next six editions of P+ in 2014-2015 Edens will answer these questions in turn: “It will be shown that there are several possible answers to each question. There are choices. I will mention what choice I would make; your choice might be different, but my objective is that you make a conscious choice. As a society, we are at a crossroads of choices that have to be made.”
This series will be in English.
The introduction of this series is available as a PDF. See the column on the left.