The energy sector in the social economy

The centralized nature of fossil fuels and the distributed natur e of renewable energy sources;

New jobs in the energy sector

The acceleration of the energy transition and new jobs

The energy comm unities – energy cooperatives

Low energy costs and local energy self-sufficiency

The energy sector is the most critical in the economy and can lead to the energy war that Europe is currently experiencing, but also the most promising as the prospect of renewable energy sources can liberate us energetically, from the scarcity of fossil fuels, with energy source the abundance of the sun.

The centralized nature of fossil fuels that defined the first and second industrial revolutions is the main cause of the rapid growth in the last two centuries, but also the cause of the global inequality between wealth and poverty. It is clear that energy poverty, in large regions of globalization, also leads to an increase in unemployment, which is not only addressed by vocational training seminars.

On the other hand, the new technologies in energy and the distributed character of renewable energy sources, as a technological possibility, of decentralized production, by local businesses and consumers is coming to change the paradigmatic model and from centralized to make it horizontally participatory. This process in the end means a huge reduction in energy costs for businesses and households, as they generate their own energy for themselves. But according to experts, it will take at least 30 years for the energy transition to reach production from renewable energy sources above 50%, as it is currently between 20% and 30% in Europe.

 But the transition is not only in the hands of the financial elites, the big companies of energy producers and traders, but also in the hands of the decentralized societies that can take initiatives of local energy production, from the open sources of access and accelerate the transition processes. The institutional tool in this process is the social cooperatives, (energy communities).

It is about the democratization of energy and at the same time the involvement and employment of larger sections of the population in the entire production process. Securing more jobs.

New job positions

According to a report by the IMF, energy efficiency from a transition to renewable energy sources is projected to increase by about 2% of global GDP and create 30 million new jobs due to the greater labor intensity of renewables than fossil fuels. A fact that is also recognized by other international organizations.

There is a theoretical and practical foundation that the decentralized model of production process that yields more jobs than the centralized model of production. At the expense of global competitiveness while decentralization and local self-sufficiency lends itself to work intensity.

This is not in the interest of large profit-making companies that want to keep labor costs down, but in the interests of the wider social strata that seek first and foremost a livelihood income. It also benefits society and the economy as a whole as there are no unemployed members and they are able to consume and in this way contribute to the general well-being.

Decentralized energy production does not mean that one is against robotics and artificial intelligence that save jobs for centralized industrial production, among other things, reducing costs for consumers. It means that it is also desirable to have self-production capabilities in the critical areas of livelihood which are energy, nutrition and health services, to balance the economic system and democratize the distribution of resources.

The self-production of energy is somewhat similar to the process like in the feudal era when everyone, usually a peasant, took care of cutting and transporting from the forest alone the firewood to his house for the energy he needed.

At that time, of course, the population of the earth did not exceed one billion. Today with the population that the Earth has, if we were to go back to the feudal era, everything would freeze.

However, new technologies also in the field of energy allow us to receive unlimited energy from the sun and distribute it equally for all. The transformation of this energy into electricity and liquid fuels such as hydrogen also creates the additional jobs that are necessary.

What is preventing the acceleration of the energy transition?

Cheap natural gas, the low cost of its production due to the minimal labor costs needed to produce it, and the super profits of the big companies monopolizing its distribution, was the incentive for these companies to invest in natural gas and fossil fuels and the disincentive and not to invest more in renewables.

But now that their price has increased tenfold with the energy war and the short-sighted and one-sided investment in fossil fuels, whose only rationale was unbridled speculation, has been revealed, the facts have changed.

It was revealed that the government energy subsidies, which are huge, were not directed sufficiently towards renewables and the distributed energy of small producers and Cooperatives, resulting in the delay of the transition.

Where there are exceptions there are also miraculous results through energy cooperatives. Thousands of electricity and green energy cooperatives are springing up in communities around the world, laying the foundation for a community benefit and sharing of electricity through regional and local distribution networks.

Electricity consumers instead of investing in the stock market with completely uncertain results, invest in energy cooperatives ensuring a very low cost of the energy they consume.

In Germany, Green Energy cooperatives are growing rapidly and contribute to renewable energy sources approaching 30%. Apparently Germany today could have overcome the energy crisis if the supply from renewable sources was closer to 50%. Denmark is at the forefront of renewable energy and co-production and is much less affected by the energy crisis.

The United States, which has a strong tradition of rural electric cooperatives, has set a goal of producing 25% of its members’ electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

Is this enough to avoid the energy crisis? Obviously not as fossil fuel and electricity prices are skyrocketing there as well even though America is considered fossil fuel self sufficient.

Soft forms of energy from the sun and wind are not yet developed to such an extent that they could replace the energy deficit. Experts say it will take at least another decade of transition from fossil fuels to green energy to tackle the problem.

Therefore, the global energy crisis teaches us practically that it is necessary to accelerate the processes of the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources through the mobilization of businesses and consumers for energy cooperatives to fight energy poverty.