Renewable Energy is the Future
“When I was young, I witnessed a neighboring town being destroyed by the coal mine”
“Within a year or two, coal mine development ended, and the town that suffered its aftermath was hard-pressed to recover from the damage.” This is the description provided by Professor Peter Schmuck of the University of G？ttingen, Germany, during his special lecture on Wednesday, March 28. The topic of this special lecture, hosted by the Global Academy for Future Civilizations (GAFC), was ‘Sustainable Future City & Happiness I,’ which discussed renewable energy towns in Germany, and what motivated them to create them.
Developing agricultural organic waste into energy sources
Currently, 92% of the world’s energy use is met by nuclear energy and fossil fuels, sourced from coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Nuclear and fossil fuels are non-renewable, and their price and supply tend to fluctuate. What is worse is that they cause environmental contamination.
In 2000 Professor Schmuck began his research on renewable energy in the town of J？hnde near G？ttingen, Germany, which is home to approximately 800 residents. Livestock waste, rice straw, corn shock, and woodchips (small pieces of wood created from tree roots and branches that are unfit for use in construction and have no other commercial potential) were developed into energy sources.
The town of J？hnde achieves 100% of its electricity demand from renewable energy, meeting approximately 50% of the energy needed for heating. Compared to 2005, when fossil fuel was still in use, carbon dioxide emission has been reduced by about 60%. Every year, J？hnde gets more than 10,000 visitors who come to examine and learn about its renewable energy system.
Must adopt a system that fits the locale
Renewable energy use in Germany has grown from about 1% in 1990 to about 36% in 2017. Currently, there are over 140 renewable towns in Germany, with another 40 preparing to make the transition.
In a farming town like J hnde, renewal energy supply would require approximately 1.2 hectares of arable land per person. Professor Schmuck admits that while it would be difficult to apply the Jóhnde example to Korea, he believes there would be other ways to achieve renewable power generation.
“In the past, each household had a TV antenna; today, very few homes use it. In its place, wind power generators could be installed. In regions with high population density, human organic waste can also offer a positive solution. Choice of renewable energy must be made in consideration of the special needs and characteristics of each local setting.”
Rector Han Goo Lee of GAFC, the host organization, said, “Dr. Stephen Hawking said that in 200 years, humans would have to leave Earth in order to continue to exist. We will suffer a fatal blow if we do not respond appropriately to climate change, artificial intelligence (AI), nuclear war, and mutant viruses. To achieve sustainable development, humankind must seek conscientious growth.”
- University Communication & Press