The energy transition is too boring

11.10.2018

Are you enjoying the energy transition? No? Well I am – thanks to green gadgets. The small technological wonders make you really want to have a green energy supply, shop responsibly and embrace the energy transition.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just stated in a special report that every one tenth of a degree less counts. We can – and must – limit global warming to max. 1.5°C. The good news is that each of us can play our part in reducing greenhouse gases. For example, by eating less meat and more regional produce, by using electricity and heating energy efficiently and by choosing sustainable means of mobility. Sounds boring again, doesn’t it? I think that one major problem with the energy transition is that many people feel it is presented in a boring and much too technical way.

Energy transition: Simply generate electricity on your own balcony

How does the saying go? A little bit of fun never did anybody any harm! And it’s really not all that difficult. Have you ever heard of a balcony module? It makes producing energy just as easy as growing plants on the balcony. Even easier actually, as you don’t have to water or fertilise anything. You simply unpack the solar module, set it up on the balcony or terrace, stick the cable into the socket and off you go! From then on, whenever the sun shines, you can use your washing machine, laptop or mobile charger with the power you have produced yourself.

The mobility transition is boring? Anybody who says that can never have sat behind the wheel of an electric car. But there are even better forms of electric transport: electric bikes are also really great fun. My favourite are the folding electric bikes that you can fold up into the size of a briefcase – in no time at all. So taking one on local public transport or on an intercity train is no problem whatsoever. When you arrive at your destination, you don’t have to spend a long time trying to find out what a bus ticket costs here or waiting for a taxi, you just cycle off. And have you ever seen anybody in a bad mood on an electric scooter or zipping past you on an electric skateboard? I never have.

Create your own energy transition

A Munich start-up is developing a reasonably priced electric car that recharges itself using integrated solar cells. Researchers have long since been experimenting with wafer-thin solar cells that can, for example, be printed on clothing. Particularly where solar energy is concerned, there are so many possibilities to create clever decentralised applications. Why don’t you let your imagination run wild for a bit? I believe that is what we are missing at the moment: a positive utopia.
Climate change does not mean a technological step backwards or that we have to live as we did 200 years ago. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating here that we should consume tonnes of high-tech products. Naturally, these offerings should be recyclable, that is to say after the end of their useful lives it should be possible to take them completely apart and recycle the parts. A good example of this is the fairphone: a modular smartphone made of fair-traded materials that can be repaired. And you can still play Candycrush on it.