Monday, 20 August 2012

energie wende

There are curious trees and reefs being cultivated across the plains of Germany, planted in response to the country’s plans to wean an energy hungry public and industrial sector off nuclear power.
Tilting at these gigantic windmills that form well-landscaped corridors that line the Autobahnen or at the expansive arrays of solar panels that are spreading across hill and field, I find the scale of substitution, replacing the smoke-stacks and cooling towers with alternative and passive means, quite impressive works of engineering—chasing and harnessing forces of nature that wouldn’t otherwise go unused and unappreciated but still without robbing its intended, but seeing this infrastructure grow still does excite some seeds of doubt and skepticism.
I believe that we are moving in the right direction, of course, but I do wonder what sort of green-washing might be undue distractions and skewed motivators: bio-fuels, depending on the source, do not ultimately affect less environmental impact, taking into account resources diverted for raising crops, destined for the tank and not the plate plus the extra kilometers potentially driven due to the cheaper price or false-comfort of being more ecologically friendly at the pump or residential insulation and energy-efficiency modernization programmes that are a boon to the construction and home appliance sectors but may yield diminishing returns for the environment and consumers.
Some very clever people, I am sure, have mulled and processed these returns but the effectiveness rings somehow less than expert. I suppose that the sleek and clean housing and the installation of windmills are quickly off-set and solar arrays are on fallow fields and are rotated, rather than taking up agricultural land and produce enough power to negate the impact, but one does have to wonder about the notion of risk-free, renewable power. Being human is a dirty-business that’s very taxing on space and resources and consumers and providers ought to work always towards innovation and break-through, but yet mindful that making do with less is ultimately the most efficient use of resources.