To lighten up your weekend and give you some inspirational thoughts, we will publish two interviews from our partner The Beam every Sunday. The Beam takes a modern perspective on the energy transition, and interviews inspirational people from around the world that shape our sustainable energy future.
This week, Anne-Sophie Garrigou, a journalist at The Beam, interviewed two inspirational experts that contribute to shape our sustainable energy future.
- As the Director of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute, Diane Moss contributes to educate leaders around the world about how to achieve 100% renewables.
- At the WorldWatch Institute (a sustainability think tank), Erik Assadourian works on the relationship between consumerism and sustainability.
In the interviews both interviewees provide their individual perspective on the energy transition.
Diane Moss is the Founder and Director of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute and an independent energy strategies consultant. She is also Founder and Owner of dima Communications & Strategic Partnerships, a firm focused primarily on sustainability, and has served as a consultant to a broad range of entities, including non-profits, cleantech companies, and utilities.
The Beam: What are the main challenges that cities or states will meet along the way to setting and achieving 100% renewable energy targets?
Diane Moss: Once the work of committing to a target and establishing a well-researched plan in place, challenges that local and state governments might meet include:
- Encountering policies outside their jurisdiction that inhibit their ability to progress. For example, a city might encounter state policies that limit their energy procurement choices.
- Utilities in some regions create roadblocks, such as high fees or slow interconnection, that require regulatory action to remove.
- Making sure constituents have the resources to train for and take advantage of the new job opportunities the energy transition creates.
- Setting up effective governance structures.
- Slow and encumbered state regulatory processes that make it hard to establish flexible and supportive frameworks.
As a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, Erik Assadourian works on the relationship between consumerism and sustainability (State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability), sustainability education (EarthEd), and economic degrowth (Yardfarmers).
The Beam: Are you more of a “degrowth” or a “green-growth” supporter, and can you explain the differences between both ideas.
Erik Assadourian: Green growth is delusional, or at best a euphemism for “less dirty growth.” On a finite planet, especially one that is already deeply overexploited, we cannot grow our way to sustainability. Growth is the root cause of our sustainability crisis. More growth cannot solve the problem. I am not against using technology wisely to help bring us to a sustainable future. The ideal pathway forward is what I call a spiral economy — which is a merging of the concepts of the degrowth economy and the circular economy. The circular economy — which uses design to ensure that all inputs become inputs in the next generation of products (whether reused, recycled, or composted) — is essential but only at a vastly decreased throughput. Hence, eventually we want a circular economy, but only after many spirals inward, shaving away all the unsustainable, unhealthful and unnecessary levels of consumption.