New Energy Order

The energy world functions like an old - hierarchical - factory. The ones that have power over raw materials, transport networks and as large as possible power plants, have power and decide what will happen. If scarcity of resources increases, the energy companies want to become even bigger in order to create a profitable economy of scale and trying to reduce energy prices as much as possible. That this on the long-term never will be successful because resources are finite. If the Internet revolution is applied on the energy world a new energy landscape glimmers. Then it becomes not only possible to consume energy, but supply it to the net as well. Rifkin (2004)describes in his book 'The hydrogen economy' how this new landscape could function. Every household has the power to gain energy. Sustainable options like solar panels or windmills, but more complicated alternatives like the use of geothermal energy can be used at a local level to provide in ones own energy demand. As fossil resources will become increasingly expensive, these sustainable options are already more competitive. But is consumers are allowed to deliver their energy-surpluses to the net, the self-production of energy becomes really profitable. Because the potential production of energy at household level exaggerates the demands of that household, delivery is potentially a chanceful option to get rid of these surpluses. Two developments support the emergence of these free accessible energy networks: the necessity to produce sustainable energy in order to minimise greenhouse gas emissions, but more important, the societal developments, where services represent values more than material issues. This development, mainly caused by the intrinsic cultural changes, seems unavoidable. The meaning of this is that, at a local and regional level energy landscapes need to be developed, which provide the net with energy and take energy whenever necessary.

For Northern Netherlands the spatial possibilities of a sustainable energy system are for the first time explored in the Grounds for Change project (Roggema, et al., 2006). Not every landscape contains identically energy characteristics and therefore not every source of energy can be used everywhere. These characteristics determine the most optimal combination of energy resources. For Northern Netherlands the potentials of wind, hydropower, solar, geothermal and biomass energy production are researched (see also Chapter 6). The specific combination of suitable energy potentials is the base for energy landscapes (Fig. 8.3), which can be layed out based on the available energy types.

For the province of Groningen these potentials are researched in more detail (Dobbelsteen, et al., 2007). The combination of possibilities to produce energy and

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Fig. 8.3 Energy landscapes in Northern Netherlands (Source: Roggema, et al., 2006)

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Fig. 8.3 Energy landscapes in Northern Netherlands (Source: Roggema, et al., 2006)

combine local demand for cooling and heating as well as the production of solar, wind, water and earth leads to a spatial intervention map for Groningen, which represents the energy steered measures. By letting this regional energy production steer the spatial lay out two objectives are realised: energy demand is minimised because functions are positioned closer to the energy source and the sub-regional combination of most optimal sustainable energy sources delivers a constant amount of energy to the energy-net 2.0. The supply of energy from a certain area is levelled out, which minimises high peaks and lows by exchanging energy between each other at a low scale.

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Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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