Overview of Enlightened Transition
In this scenario, the combined oil and gas peak is reached in twenty five years, just as it was in the Business as Usual one. However, in this case, the government gives leadership from 2005 onwards, enabling the business sector and the general public to avoid making stranded investments (that is, investments that are totally inappropriate to a high energy cost world) and, instead, to use energy which is much cheaper now than it will ever be again to develop Irish energy sources and to reduce the amount of energy required to maintain and run the Irish economy.
Enlightened Transition Summary
The move to renewable energy sources causes the economy to reach a steady state. The reduced dependence on fossil fuels causes a very moderate decline in the economy after 2030. The enlightened transition scenario manages to achieve a steady state, as it much less dependent on fossil fuel imports but declines somewhat. Also Ireland may have installed all its available renewable energy capacity by 2040 with any excess energy requirements coming from dwindling expensive imported fossil fuels hence the moderate decline in manufacturing output after 2040.
Characteristics of Enlightened Transition
- The security of Ireland’s energy supplies is put ahead of immediate low energy prices. The IDA recognises that while the low-energy cost approach was appropriate in an energy abundant world, a guaranteed energy supply at a predictable price is a better strategy in an energy scarce one.
- The government negotiates long-term, fixed price supply contracts with oil and gas producers. This enables it to let energy-users know what prices they will have to pay in the future.
- In 2006, Ireland catches up with the rest of the EU-15 and introduces a feed-in law which offers an attractive fixed price for the next 15 years to anyone able to supply electricity from renewable sources to the national grid. Eirgrid is mandated to take this power. Net metering is introduced to encourage households to install small wind turbines and PV panels which supply power to the grid when it is not required for the household’s own use. (Net metering means, essentially, that the electricity meter runs backwards when the household has a surplus of power)
- Every building constructed after 2008 has to be built to ZED (i.e. Zero fossil Energy Demand) standards. In other words, the developers have to show that it can be lit and heated without the use of fossil energy and that its location will still be appropriate when the cost of transport, and running a car becomes very much higher than at present.
- No new contracts for major road-building projects or airport expansion are awarded. Instead, congestion charging is introduced where it is necessary to limit road or runway use and the proceeds are used to improve bus and rail transport.
- Fiscal measures are brought in to encourage compact settlement development including land value taxes and increased betterment- based development levies.???
- Except where there are acute skills shortages, the recruitment of labour from outside the EU ceases.
- Public pension investment policies change to favour local renewable energy development.
- Tax incentives comparable to those for property in the 90s are introduced to encourage private and community investment in local renewable energy.
- Eirgid is directed to begin the transformation of the electricity grid to a distributed system.??
The Business Sector
- Business starts to make decisions on the basis of steadily rising energy costs if they are buying power, and steady rising energy prices if they are selling it. Some energy-intensive manufacturing operations close. Others, such as Auginish Alumina, develop wind farms and only fall back on fossil fuels when the wind is not blowing. The closures are offset by expanding firms meeting the demand from the renewable energy sector.
- Helped by government research contracts, Irish firms set out to develop and export new energy saving/generation technologies
- Air travel becomes steadily more expensive. The tourist sector reacts by offering longer-term activity and special interest holidays rather than weekend breaks.
* All houses now have smart metering which allows for variable pricing of electricity
* Devices attached to appliances can be set to run when a certain price band is reached so the less urgent tasks wait for the lowest prices and their is also a "I need it and I need it now" button for urgent tasks!
* Many have battery backup which not only provides electricity if the power goes off, but can be charged when the price is low and used when the price is high.
* Some apartments have shared facilities such as washing machines
* The standard of insulation and draught-proofing in homes countrywide now rivals Sweden
* Homes now require 50% of the energy to run them that they did in 2005. This is though efficiency gains and people keeping their homes cooler.
* High energy tasks now carried out when power is cheap rather than when it is convenient. Washing when the wind blows.
Timeline for Enlightened Transition
How the next 50 years develop under the Enlightened Transition Scenario.
- Steps towards a planned transition to indigenous energy sources are taken immediately.
- Flood of wind farm projects connected to grid.
- Ireland becomes world leader in developing tidal stream and electricity storage technologies.
- Massive windfarms off the west coast enable Ireland to become a major exporter of electricity to Britain.
- Two cement factories close as the level of new building falls and the construction sector switches to techniques involving materials with less embodied energy.
- The timber frame sector expands as does other low embodied energy construction systems such as hemp / lime construction. Retrofitting for energy efficiency becomes a booming industry covering all building trades.
- Irish energy prices drop below the European average. Energy-intensive manufacturing processes move back.
Living in 2015
I hate politicians. Back in 2005, the coalition government they had then got a bee in its collective bonnet about how oil and gas were going to run out in 25 years’ time and how we’d better get ready for it. Talk about Chicken Little and the sky falling! Anyway, they started distorting the market by putting up energy prices and giving subsidies, grants and tax breaks to encourage the generation of all sorts of renewable energy. The big firms like Airtricity did well out of the taxpayer, of course, but a lot of smaller people did as well, particularly after a scheme came in which enabled communities to start generating their own heat and electricity and distributing it through their own networks of pipes and cables.
The present government is no better, it says that the higher prices we are paying for our power here are enabling the business sector and the general public to avoid making “stranded investments”. by which they mean investments that are totally inappropriate to a high energy cost world. Have you ever heard such jargon? And such nonsense! It’s them that are creating the high prices to reward their political supporters. It’s not a high cost energy world and other countries without these silly policies are growing faster than we are.
Is not up to government to worry about what will happen in the long terms. The market can do that and, when shortages really do appear, then firms can make money honestly by sorting them out.
Key Enlightened Transition Facts in 2015
- The security of Ireland’s energy supplies is put ahead of immediate low energy prices.
- No new contracts for major road-building projects or airport expansion
- Congestion charging is introduced
- Aviation fuel is taxed as a result of EU Directive
- Energy prices have grown at 6% per year since 2005
- Petrol prices have increased by 80% since then
- Electricity prices have also increased by 80%
- Renewables now 30% of energy generation
- Waste a big issue - much is exported
- 5 Incinerators built since 2005
- Saving money by reducing waste of all kinds is part of the psyche
- We no longer expect to get all kinds of fruit and veg all through the year
- Housing boom ended in 2009 but soft landing
- Smart metering in all homes allows variable pricing of electricity
What are we eating?
More seasonal because cost of transport increase. More local.
- Organic turkey from integrated farm.
- Irish Potatoes
- Frozen Veg from Holland
- Oranges from Spain
What are we watching?
- Makeover program that reduces cost of running house by 90%
- Build Your Own Windfarm
- Back to the city
Most popular Websites
What are we selling
- Second car that runs on oil or linseed oil Would swap for 2 quiet house cows.
- 10 speed bicycle for sale with electric motor assist. E400 ono.
- Electric producing rowing machine for sale. Produces up to 3 hours energy per hour of excersie in a non-converted house, several more in a converted house. 8 gears, Price E1000. Saves E800 per year for regular users.
- Minister for Sustainable Energy Announced - Sustainable Energy has not become a hot political issue, deserving of a new department
- Private wire schemes encroach on national grid - Entrepreneurs have started businesses generating electricity which are supplied direct, not via the national grid, to homes and businesses.
- Property prices fall as pensions funds shift to renewable energy projects - property was long seen as a safe investment - "safe as houses" - but energy is now seen as a better long term investment with good returns. People will always want energy.
- Deposit for Milk Bottles increased to 50c - For many years glass was simply thrown away, then it was recycled and finally the returnable bottle made a return. Since then, the value of the returnable bottle has increased.
- Airships to fly over Ireland Again - Airships are a cheap form of transport where speed is not required. They do not require energy to lift them, only to move them forward, they require almost no infrastructure and are now very safe.
- District heating now favoured by planners - A method popular on continental Europe has finally made it to Ireland.
- Closing time for Just in Time - As transport prices increase, the warehouse makes a return as it becomes cheaper to take few deliveries and store goods until needed.
- Ryanbikes slams price increase for public bike storage racks - Ryanair is a successful and ambitious Irish entrepreneur who saw a new business opportunity as people moved out of their cars and onto their bikes. Long known for slamming airports for trying to charge Ryanair for the use of their services, he has brought the same stance to the new Ryanbike business.
- Eco-village tax free - Eco-villages reconised as a good way forward.
- Two incinerators to convert to energy production - Reduction is waste, particularlly waste with high embodied energy, forces some facilities to look for alternative sources of income by converting to energy production.
- New rail lines on central reservation of motorways - Light rail is much more flexible in it's requirements and being installed on dual-carraigeways and motorways.
- Walk to school "bus" mowed down by Ryanbike - Children walk to school in organised groups or "walking busses". Another dig at Ryanair.