This year, the world suddenly hit the pause button. Almost overnight, we went from fast-paced global connections and constant travel to a life at home with our communities as COVID-19 took hold around the world. This drastic switch led to two significant changes impacting our environment and our local communities, creating a stronger case for renewable energy communities than ever before.
The environmental impact of COVID-19
The roads are deserted, the skies are clear and factories are eerily quiet. It seems only natural that with such sudden alterations in our lifestyles, we’re going to see the impact of the coronavirus on the environment.
At the start of the pandemic, our social media feeds were filled with aerial photographs from China, marvelling at the unusually clear air over its industrial regions. Now, we have access to better data that allows us to predict the long term impact of this unprecedented change. The International Energy Agency is anticipating that the world energy demand will contract by 6% in 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic is acting as the ultimate case study in determining our impact on the environment. What’s so interesting to note here is that, although consumer habits have been totally transformed, many regions are still experiencing incredibly high levels of CO2 emissions. Whilst Paris has enjoyed a 72% reduction in CO2 emissions, over in the United States, New York City has reduced their CO2 emissions by just 10%.
Reducing energy consumption alone isn’t enough to protect our planet, this period has shown us that. We need to change where we’re sourcing our energy from instead.
“[…] personal behaviour really isn’t going to fix the carbon emission problem. We need a systematic change in how energy is generated and transmitted.”
Prof Róisín Commane, Columbia University speaking to BBC News
Now is the time to reconsider our habits and start thinking about what we need to change for the future, together. All the signs are pointing towards collective systematic change from households, industry and businesses alike.
Such is the power of renewable energy communities.
By using the coronavirus pandemic as our catalyst to start the shift towards green energy, we have the potential to use this crisis as an opportunity to do better for our planet and protect our future.
Renewable energy communities ease the transition into renewable energy sources for everyone involved. By making the change as a collective, the chances of success are that much higher, as choosing green energy becomes a socially acceptable norm. Couple this with the ability of renewable energy communities to manage the financial pressure of an energy transition, and the potential of such communities to enact positive widespread change for our environment seems to be clear.
What is a renewable energy community?
A renewable energy community is a way to share surplus energy with your neighbours, and use theirs in return. You can produce, store and consume renewable energy all in one place – within your local community.
The community impact of COVID-19
One of the great positives to come out of this global tragedy is the sight of local communities banding together to support one another. It seems that this is our opportunity to slow down and remember what is important.
Each week new notes are passed through neighbours’ letterboxes as members of their community reach out with offers of help and support. Each day consumers are choosing to shop local and support their independent stores, rather than taking the risk and making the effort to visit a larger chain store. Each hour friends are messaging each other online to check in and see how they’re coping that day.
The community feeling is clear.
What if it could continue?
For that to happen, we need to take note of what it is that has united our society during the coronavirus pandemic – a shared experience. Which is what a renewable energy community seeks to deliver.
Renewable energy communities see individuals band together around a shared passion and a common goal – a greener cleaner world. They offer the chance for individuals and local businesses to connect with one another, to learn from one another and to support one another.
Really, a renewable energy community is the catalyst that can reignite your community spirit and that feeling of togetherness. Because, if this experience has taught us anything, it’s that we’re stronger when we support one another.
Renewable energy communities are the meeting of environmental concern and community feel. Interested to find out more? Get in touch to see how an energy community could work for you:[:]