The world is continually changing with some things becoming inadequate and passing away while new things appear and enable us to have an improved world in which to live. I see the arising of crowdfunding renewable energy at this very moment as a confluence of many of these changes. The changes that I am thinking about are varied. They range from economic development through access to affordable energy, less polluting energy resources, the quantity and scale of renewable energy technologies, communication and connections between peoples, and the change in how finance can be conducted.
The world is changing how it provides and consumes energy to power our modern societies and alleviate poverty through economic development throughout the world. Renewable energy is playing an ever increasing role in bringing modern energy to the 1.2 billion people who do not currently have access to electricity. This is the change from underdeveloped to developed countries. While at the same time renewable energy is taking on a growing role in providing energy for highly developed economies and societies to be less polluting of the environment and people. This is the change from high carbon economies to low carbon economies.
Renewable energy is changing the amount of energy provided and the scale of technology that can be employed. The amount of renewable energy produced within the European Union has doubled since 2004, accounting for almost 20 percent of energy consumed in the European Union. Renewable energy projects with a capacity to produce as much electricity as major coal-fired or nuclear power plants have been built and operated. Household sized renewable energy technologies have been deployed on millions of homes in the EU since the start of this century. This is the change from large centralised energy production to a more distributed system of generation.
The world is changing in how it communicates and connects people from around the world. It is transitioning to new definitions of what community is and the diminishing importance of location in defining community. We have transitioned from telephony as the fastest way to communicate to the continuous communication of the internet. This is the change from local community to global community.
The world is changing how we conduct finances and banking. The past 8 to 9 years since the global banking crisis started and showed its inadequacies, new financing and banking systems have arisen ranging from Bit Coin to social networking to provide financing for both personal and commercial needs. This is a transition from large domineering financial institutions to a finance world more human-scale and personally directed finances that can be enabled and encourage.
We are in a changing world. And much of it seems to come together in how new technologies can help us to have greater control over how our own financial decisions and make the world better for ourselves and others. The research CrowdfundRES is conducting is trying to help guide some of this transition and is captured in the phrase Unleashing the potential of Crowdfunding for Financing Renewable Energy Project. I hope you enjoy reading this edition of the newsletter and the information being collected to help the transition to an improved world.
Dr Ariel Bergmann
Energy Economist, Centre for Energy, Petroleum, and Mineral Law and Policy, University of Dundee.