chapter  7
22 Pages

Alternative energy plans

WithFinn Arler

Since the early 1970s the Danish energy movement, which had emerged from the rejection of nuclear energy, has had an ambition to develop an energy system based completely (or almost) on renewable sources. Like the grass-root inventers of renewable technologies, energy researchers at universities were not satisfied with traditional solutions but wanted to construct new types of flexible energy-saving systems with regulatory mechanisms that made it possible to cope with a variety of fluctuating sources. Their alternative plans showed the possibility of a comprehensive proactive energy policy with an ethical perspective reaching beyond immediate economic problems to future challenges with resource limitations and environmental harms. A general vision of an energy system without nuclear and fossil energy was combined with the state-of-the-art knowledge of energy technologies and planning practices. This demonstrated how alternative paths could be made feasible – which again inspired engineers, technology developers, planners, and politicians to contribute with refined products and practices. The presence of more than one possible path opened for a public debate about means and ends in energy policy, which at the end of the 1980s was heated further up by the growing awareness of climatic change and the publication of the Brundtland report.