In this contribution I would like to shed some light on sustainable energy policy, as I think the approach by the Dutch SER (the Social Economic Council that advises the government) can be an example for energy policy makers.
In The Netherlands a government period is usually 4 years (unless it is dissolved before, not an uncommon event). With a newly elected government that took seat in 2012 the discussion and design of new policies for this 4 period is ongoing. However, for a goal such as obtaining a sustainable energy society a four year period is much too short as a timeframe. Fortunately the SER realized that sustainable solutions should be lifted over government periods for their potential to blossom and land in the society. At this moment they are composing an “Energy Policy for Sustainable Growth” (Dutch: Energieakkoord) with a time horizon for 2050. This policy will consist of binding long term goals which will be checked against each 4 year government period plans.
So why am I writing a blog about this? Not only do I think that it’s a change of mind to concentrate on the long term goals instead of short term gains, but I also think it’s worth mentioning because the composition of this Sustainable Energy Policy is highly dependent on the input of citizens like you and me.
The SER organizes different work meetings, during which people (Dutch citizens, business and public representatives) can give their input on different themes. The four themes of the Sustainable Energy Policy are:
- Built environment: energy efficiency and local renewable energy generation
- Industry, large energy production and Emissions Trading System
- Innovation, clean technology and commercialization
- Mobility & Transport
Input from these meetings are taken into consideration by the actual panel of energy experts that’s composing the Sustainable Energy Policy that is due mid-2013. To make sure the voice of the young generation is heard, a team of young professionals is currently helping the SER in getting input from this group. On a website the Chances, Threats and Actions can be listed which they’ll take into the different theme meetings. In this way, your voice is actually being taken into consideration.
I think the process of composing this Sustainable Energy Policy is a great example of giving everybody the opportunity to be involved, to ensure that the long term Sustainable Energy Policy is truly a policy for the people and supported by the people! I’m glad to see that short term thinking is here replaced with long term ‘dots on the horizon’ to ensure that all the governments to come keep this Sustainable Energy Policy in mind when setting their short term max 4 year targets.
As Albert Einstein already said: “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking”, and this is a great example for setting the tone for long term instead of short term goals, which are crucial for a sustainable society.