IRENEC 2012 convened for the second time on 28-30 June 2012 in Istanbul, at the Türkan Saylan Cultural Center in Maltepe, once again re-iterating the the slogan “100% Renewable Energy is Possible”. The international conference, this year featured 65 papers from 25 countries. Once again, the double crises of environment and economy continued to mark the historical trend towards higher and higher penetration of renewable resources into global energy supply systems.
All is not bright however, and fossil energy supply and security related threats to humans and the ecosystem continue with the danger of war and conflict arising from the race to control fossil resources in the Middle East and the unabated growth of fossil power investments all over the world.
IRENEC 2012 has one again emphasized that the problem is “political” and not “technical” or “financial”. The clamours about ‘market prices’, ‘competition’ and ‘efficiency’ have once again been shown scientifically, through various studies from Australia to Turkey and Europe, to be misguided, misinformed and/or bad intentioned.
The first plenary session of the conference was entitled “Renawable Energy for Peace, Freedom and Equality”. These are resounding political slogans that have been elaborated and explained, in various sessions of Irenec2012. The Conference also called for the moral high ground to be captured by renewable energy advocates. The insistence on fossil supply should be accompanied by the stigma of intellectual suicide such that any such person or body should find themselves in the position of advocates of slavery or child-labour in the 19th century !
Similar to Irenec2011, this year’s Conference put emphasis on the role of local government once again. The conference called on all local governments in Turkey to take the lead in paving the way for the low carbon energy supply transformation, through initiatives in energy efficiency, sustainable transport and city planning, expanded renewable energy utilization and public awareness campaigning to break passed the ‘ostrich’ policies of the national government.
Irenec 2012 included may technical sessions demonstrating the advances and technical readiness of wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable supply options as well as the necessary changes in infrastructure to accomodate increasing amounts of fluctuating power, the so called ‘smart grid’ technologies. Excellent accounts of smart grid development in different countries were given, taking into consideration specific and historical developments of national and regional electricity market dynamics.
The conference ended with a call for more political involvement for future solutions and putting aside ‘one issue politics’ on part of the environmental movements but also radically new and path-breaking changes of policy on the part of local governments that would finally build the grand coalition for radical change.