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A shift to clean energy is possible

Solar panels in Yirgalem, Ethiopia create energy self-sufficiency in remote regions. Photo by Monika Firl
A transition to renewal energy is not only possible, it is also absolutely necessary. This was the conclusion reached by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in their recent report, "Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis". Yet decision-makers in Canada and Quebec continue to push government policies towards an ecological point of no return.

In fact, Quebec has the potential to meet its energy needs with renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass electric power generation plants.

According to the Quebec Association for the Production of Renewable Energy, this province’s wind energy potential alone is estimated to be nearly 400,000 MW, which amounts to almost 100 times the power currently generated by its hydropower plants. Quebec is home to leading businesses in the field of solar and thermal power, yet financial support to promote and expand this energy source remains limited. Similarly, exploration of biofuels, biogas, forestry residues and marine biotechnology are at the earliest stages of development.

Change is always difficult. Yet, outside Quebec, there are promising examples of communities making the shift to renewable energy.

Solar panels in Yirgalem, Ethiopia (shown in the image above) enable enegry self-sufficiency and provide the most viable energy source for remote populations. Wind power production in Denmark has already exceeded electrical power consumption. Germany, not known for a particularly sunny climate, has developed the largest solar photovoltaic market in the world and now has the capacity to produce 53% of its national peak power demand.  

While the context of these countries may differ in many ways, they share a common approach: incorporating citizen participation and seeking the best, innovative uses of local resources.

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mfirl2014 (Monika Firl)
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