07 December, 2015

Lecture - Luís Moreira de Sousa, “Frontiers in Energy Systems and Policy”

Speaker: Luís Moreira de Sousa, Researcher and Journal Associate Editor “Frontiers in Energy Systems and Policy”.
Event date: Tuesday, 08 December 2015, 19:00 - 20:30
Place: Campus Limpertsberg, Bâtiment des Sciences, Auditoire BS 0.03
162a, avenue de la Faïencerie
L-1511 Luxembourg

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The Transition Towns movement started as a spontaneous reaction to the prospect of "Peak Oil" by an eight grade class in the Irish city of Kinsale in late 2005. Employing scientific resilience practices and dispensing a clear philosophical background, the movement grew incredibly fast, engulfing similar initiatives along the way, to reach over 1 000 communities around the world.   However, similarities and symbiosis with Green Anarchism and successor ideologies still pose a challenge to individuals that may not identify themselves with these previous philosophies. In this context, initiatives such as Energy Cooperatives provide an alternative path to engage the wider community in the inevitable energy transition process.

This public lecture provides perspectives on the establishment of a citizens energy cooperative in Luxembourg.  Through Energy Cooperatives citizens invest financially on high technology to effectively earn dividends, but still within a framework of democracy, equality and transition.  The project of the Luxembourg transition town movement illustrates the transformative potential of energy cooperatives in a fairly favourable legal and regulatory environment.

To conclude trends of the establishment of energy cooperatives in Europe are critically discussed:  Energy Cooperatives in Europe grew initially on the back of hefty feed-in-tariffs provided to technologies such as Photo-Voltaics, in what were essentially easy money processes. A rapid decline in renewable energy technology prices has since entirely changed the landscape. Today, not only have these feed-in-tariffs been scrapped, governments and industry now regard cheap renewable energies as a growing threat. With import duties imposed by the European Commission and heavy taxes approved by multiple member states, the energy transition is in practice being halted.   European energy cooperatives face today a sizeable challenge, in particular for its political dimension. However, with millions of citizens involved, these cooperatives can actually acquire a fundamental role in guaranteeing a thorough energy transition and the long term resilience of the European economy.

Guest Lecturer: Luís Moreira de Sousa is a researcher with a background on Computer Science. He has worked in different national and European research projects, mostly applying open source tools in Geography and related fields. In 2005 he started the first Portuguese language website dedicated to "Peak Oil" (www.picodopetroleo.net). In 2006 he would be a founding member of the Portuguese branch of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO). Still that year he integrated the team that founded the European branch of the electronic energy forum TheOilDrum.com - to which he contributed until its closure in 2013. Since 2013 Luís has been an associate editor at the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Energy Systems and Policy. He writes regularly on Energy at his blog (attheedgeoftime.blogspot.com).

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