According to research don’t by a think tank in Europe, renewable energy technologies have always found a soft spot in our hearts, but the reasons keep evolving.
Depending on who you ask, and when you ask, you might get very different reasons for people’s support of renewable energy technologies, such as wind power, solar power, and wave power, to name a few. Interestingly, the push for renewable energy sources started back with the first and second world wars. For example, World War II Germany, with the war budget behind it, was decentralizing the power grid with wind power stations, and using potato crops to produce ethanol-based rocket fuel. Such advances in renewable energy reduced Germany’s dependence on fuel imports, reducing the chance of being crippled a power plant strike or embargos.
Decades later, a resurgence of interest in renewable energy followed the 1970s oil crisis and a 1972 report that the world’s finite resources might be dwindling. To protect themselves from Middle Eastern oil interests, Europe and the United States poured money into renewable energy research and development, but low fossil fuel prices in the 1980s lessened interest to some degree.
Nuclear disasters, such as Chernobyl, in 1989, and Fukushima, in 2011, among others, and pollution related to fracking in the last year or so, have also sparked renewed interest in renewable energy, yet it never seems to last. The problem is that we have such short memories, and not enough money to pour into renewable energy. Big money, the fossil fuel giants, continue to sway politicians and policy makers, which means that renewable energy seems to hold just a sideline of the population. What’s it going to take to get everyone on board with a clean energy future?
Photo credit: twicepix / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)