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Friman, H.;  Banner, I.;  Sitbon, Y.;  Einav, Y.;  Shaked, N. Preparing Public Opinion to Accept Distributed Energy Systems. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/24545 (accessed on 20 June 2024).
Friman H,  Banner I,  Sitbon Y,  Einav Y,  Shaked N. Preparing Public Opinion to Accept Distributed Energy Systems. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/24545. Accessed June 20, 2024.
Friman, Hen, Ifaa Banner, Yafa Sitbon, Yulia Einav, Nava Shaked. "Preparing Public Opinion to Accept Distributed Energy Systems" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/24545 (accessed June 20, 2024).
Friman, H.,  Banner, I.,  Sitbon, Y.,  Einav, Y., & Shaked, N. (2022, June 28). Preparing Public Opinion to Accept Distributed Energy Systems. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/24545
Friman, Hen, et al. "Preparing Public Opinion to Accept Distributed Energy Systems." Encyclopedia. Web. 28 June, 2022.
Preparing Public Opinion to Accept Distributed Energy Systems
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Global energy consumption has reached unprecedented levels over the last century due to population growth and economic growth. There have been significant changes in the global energy economy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants. Due to this trend, many countries around the world are promoting electric technologies as fuel-saving alternatives. Israelis know too little about smart meters, energy storage systems, and other modern power grid technology, which enables a decentralized approach to energy management referred to as distributed energy systems (DES). Using distributed energy systems to generate energy on-site and manage loads can reduce costs, improve reliability, and secure revenue. An effective public education program can help prepare public opinion and reduce barriers to smart use and energy efficiency in the home. 

environmental education elementary school renewable energy distributed energy systems sustainability

1. Introduction

Installing a distributed energy system (DES) can help reduce the energy distribution losses and allow usage of locally available renewable resources. DES can combine different sectors, such as electricity, cooling, and heating, using technologies such as cogeneration, heat pumps, absorption chillers, etc. The rising concerns about energy independence, global warming, and climate change, coupled with the demand to provide electricity to remote populations, has encouraged a change in thinking toward energy systems. Consequently, the focus is directed towards developing power plants located close to end-users and designing plans in accordance with local needs and resources [1]. The DES concept involves both the deployment of generation plants (decentralized generation) and the integrating of various energy sources [2]. The distributed production of DES has many benefits: economic (e.g., local resource development), technical (e.g., system flexibility), and social (e.g., self-sufficient communities). With the rise of interest in DES, a variety of aggregation solutions are being developed in the scientific community. The following concepts are the prominent ones. However, it is important to note that the terminology is still developing and uncertain, and in some cases, it is used indistinctly.

1.1. The United States

In the past decade, the U.S took various actions to encourage the development of Combined Heating & Power (CHP) and renewable energy utilization. According to the White Paper on CHP in a Clean Energy Standard from 2011, the CHP share of the U.S electric power is expected to increase by 11% and represent 20% of the electricity generated by 2030 [3]. Furthermore, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency have decided to replace the old equipment in the industrial sector with more clean and efficacious distributed energy equipment [4]. In the past two decades, the US established several initiatives to reduce the prices of natural gas and to improve the development of clean energy, and several related policies have been issued. For example, in 2011, the Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future was issued [5]. The plan aims to reduce the dependence on oil by exploiting cleaner alternative energy. Subsequently, the Clean Power Plan was published in 2015 to promote renewable energy power [6].

1.2. Europe

Overall, renewable energy represented 22.1% of the energy consumed in the European Union (EU) in 2020 [7]. Researchers review the steps taken by some of the governments in the last decade which have enabled the EU to reach the percentage stated above, as well as goals for the next decades and further measures that are planned to be taken.

1.2.1. Germany

Germany has been determined to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and has taken several measures in that direction. In 2012, the government set a legally binding development target that by 2025, the electricity generated by CHP will account for 25% of the total generation [8]. This commitment is bound by a law named Combined Heat and Power, which also states that the electricity from CHP will receive a higher subsidy and will become a higher priority. In addition, a series of policies have been released, such as the Law on Renewable Energies from 2012, which specifies that biomass-based power plants should assist the development of the CHP deployment and its related policies mentioned above. In 2015, Germany declared that nuclear power would gradually be removed by 2022, facilitating the deployment of CHP. These policies place Germany as the country with the largest segment of the CHP market among EU members. Furthermore, the government revised the Law on Renewable Energies again in 2016, and suggested new goals: by 2030, the electricity generated by renewable energy will account for 50% of the total generation, and this will be over 80% by 2050.

1.3. The United Kingdom

The British government has embraced several cost-sharing strategies aimed at decreasing the high cost of PV, such as allocating the cost of photovoltaic generation to fossil fuel-based energy producers through taxes and financial subsidies. Furthermore, the British government has urged energy producers to cut carbon emissions and to save energy. For instance, an enterprise that improves its primary energy saving ratio to a particular value would be eligible for government credit as well as VAT on the installation cost of the equipment. By 2013, the installed capacity of CHP in Britain was about 420,104 kW, accounting for 10% of the total electrical output [9]. While in 2016, 45% of the total electricity was generated by natural gas power plants, and the thermal power plant was slated to be phased out by 2025 [10].

1.4. China

China has had the world’s largest PV market share since 2013. As the price of the PV module falls, the government keeps increasing the amount of PV capacity installed, along with providing incentive policies such as feed-in tariffs (FITs) and subsidies. Until 2016, large-scale PV power stations were the most dominant in the PV market in China [11].
Since 2016, distributed PV energy developed very quickly, and it is now one of the foundations of China’s energy transition. However, considering the Chinese market, distributed energy still has a major potential to develop. China has been promoting policies favoring distributed energy in the past decade, and the government keeps adding new policies to support it and create a promising environment for distributed energy to continue to develop and grow.

2. Education

It is necessary to design, develop, and disseminate appropriate renewable energy technologies so that economic growth and human welfare are enhanced [12][13]. Along with governmental support, establishing and applying policies for distributed energy to form a significant percentage of all electricity generated, there is a need for change in education as well. The emerging needs of the 21st century for sustainable energy supply systems have been accompanied by fresh approaches to renewable energy education, which aims to address the needs of the current times. As the renewable energy industry is developing rapidly, concerns about oil reduction and climate change are rising. Many perceive renewable energy as part of the answer to these concerns, including the governments mentioned above, and others that have formed programs to promote the use of sustainable energy systems. However, many engineers and professionals are not qualified to work with these renewable energy technologies, and most are not familiar with the principles of sustainability. Hence, there is a crucial need to develop and implement new training programs and courses that will prepare engineers, energy planners, and scientists for the market of the 21st century, which is expected to be dominated by sustainable energy solutions.
Renewable energy education is a relatively new field, and it normally includes special techniques, standards, and requirements that are not typically included in other disciplines. These programs include, or should include, all the stages of renewable energy, from the study of the technology and resources to systems design, economics, industry structure, and policies that support it.
Education is a powerful agent of social and perceptual change. It can serve as a tool to raise awareness of the latest trends and developments and provide suitable training for professionals. In addition, it can support government efforts, as it can familiarize the public with innovative technologies and create confidence in new products [14]. The community has a key role in the success or failure of the implementation of recent technologies. Jennings listed some of the purposes that education can fulfill in the success of implementing renewable energy systems [14]:
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Raising public awareness of the technology.
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Instilling confidence in the technology among consumers.
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Providing technical support to consumers.
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Better and more suitable training of professionals, such as engineers, scientists, and researchers, who will develop new systems, devices, and technologies for the industry.
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Training of policy analysts who can study and improve the effectiveness of the policies and plans that governments establish.
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Training of people who will advise and help future customers of the industry.
Jennings’s review demonstrates that firms that addressed these issues properly and invested in information and education have succeeded more than the companies that have ignored these needs.
Along with the increasing need, there have been several innovative developments in renewable energy education that focus on the gaps and needs of the industry. Some of these were mentioned above. In recent years, there have been several important initiatives in the field. Kendal and Broman reviewed the literature on renewable energy education initiatives around the world, the challenges met, and perspectives on the future [15]. They then formed a list of 12 practical recommendations for the relevant education programs. These are the key recommendations:
  • Concepts and courses on renewable energy should be introduced through all formal and informal stages of education. It is essential to guarantee both consistency and continuity in the education materials taught at different levels in order to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the renewable energy education strategy.
  • Renewable energy education programs must combine academic and practical aspects. The hands-on practical courses can include conducting laboratory experiments, demonstration operational systems, field visits, and field installation of systems. It is also possible to offer personal hardware-oriented projects as part of the programs.
  • Sufficient and adequate teaching resources must be provided as part of the program. They should include textbooks, laboratory manuals, and teacher guides for all levels and types of education, along with the hands-on skills training mentioned above.
  • The education programs should engage all of the members of the society as a whole. Everyone can and should be informed about the basic concepts of efficient energy use and the different renewable energy options available to them. This phase can include the use of mass communication media, relevant exhibitions, and more.
  • Organizing short courses, workshops, etc. is necessary, to ensure that the knowledge and skills of the teachers and, in accordance, the professionals are updated regularly.
  • The primary goal of any educational program is to prepare the population for the future and promote the use of renewable energy. Therefore, it is important to assess the current education programs and training needs to understand the societal needs of the future. Renewable energy education must be taken seriously, as its current level is far from satisfactory.
  • Guidelines and standards regarding university-level academic programs should be established so they can be a system of accreditation and standardization
  • Quality education is essential to tackle common issues, and unlike many other solutions, it can serve as a long-term solution. It is crucial to educate children at young ages, as these years shape one’s perspectives and have long-term effects on their behavior. Along with that, educational programs can promote the usage of new technologies, thereby achieving the implementation of new renewable energy technologies.

2.1. Israel

Israel can produce a substantial amount of electricity using either large, utility-scale solar power plants or small, distributed solar power systems. For solar power stations to work, large tracts of land are needed and the power grid might need to be upgraded. On the other hand, distributed production using PV panels on rooftops does not require these procedures, while still having the advantages of the omnipresence of insolation [16]. However, it requires an assessment of the available rooftop area in Israel to make sure sufficient rooftop area is available.
A former analysis that was performed in cooperation with the Land Development Authority of the Jewish National Fund (“Keren Kayemet le-Israel”), based on data from 2007, concluded that PV electricity can generate 32% of the national electricity consumption in Israel [17]. With the rooftop area available, a total capacity of 12,000 MWp can be installed, which is more than the total installed capacity worldwide (7800 MWp in 2008) [18]. These findings can have major economic consequences. Installing PV systems on large rooftops can help reach 7% of Israel’s national demand. This result demonstrates that the vast capacity of PV systems can be installed on rooftops as an alternative for allocating vast tracts of land.
According to a report by the Israel Ministry of Energy, there has been a significant rise in energy consumption in Israel in recent years, which highlights the need to improve consumption and shift toward sustainable and renewable energy consumption. The activity of the Ministry of Energy in general, and the energy conservation department in particular, has changed in light of the current needs: the energy conservation department declared that they are focusing on reducing energy consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions as a reaction to the climate crisis and rapid urbanization processes.
In 2015, similarly to other governments, the Israeli government established a national action plan to reduce gas emissions, which was eventually approved in 2017. This plan was based on the Energy Sources Law, and the relevant regulations made by the Israeli government over the years. It is a five-year plan and includes extensive changes in many sectors. Moreover, the ministry of energy published a 10-year plan for 2020–2030 which includes the private and the public sectors and aims to reduce energy consumption.
Forming the plan included several stages: first, the ministry updated the measures and the national goal of improving energy consumption and making it more efficient. Unlike the previous goal, the new goal not only focused on reducing electricity consumption, but also on reducing all energy consumption from all sources used in the economy. This goal goes along with the goal of renewable energy reaching 30% of the total energy consumed by 2030, similar to the goals set by the European countries mentioned above. The second stage included the conducting of a thorough analysis of the energy economy, including the recent trends in the various sectors. Finally, relying on the findings of the analysis and the conclusions made during the process, the Ministry of Energy recommended policy changes and budgets to promote them in the five years that followed. More specifically, the plan has six aims/goals: the national goal of improving energy intensity, energy savings (compared to previous steps of the plan), efficiency in the public -commercial sector, efficiency in the domestic sector, efficiency in the industrial sector, and efficiency in the transportation sector. Each measure was described in detail.
So far, there have been some changes in the energy consumption in Israel: between 2013 to 2017, the overall energy consumption has risen by about 10%, while the total gross domestic product has risen by about 14%. The energy intensity has been reduced by just about 3.7% [19]. A qualitative analysis of the factors that inhibit the improvements suggested that there are several main factors: using electric devices of low energy efficiency, limited importance of energy consideration in the commercial-public sector, limited planning of energy sources at a sector level, and finally lack of public awareness. The first three influence mostly the commercial, public, and industrial sectors, but the last factor affects all sectors. Lack of public awareness inhibits the efficiency of the entire market and each of the sectors involved, and its influence is highly notable in each of the other factors that were identified in the analysis [19].
For the different sectors to be more efficient, they must be aware of the financial potential and the environmental importance first. These days, energy consumers in the different sectors are simply unaware of the financial potential that reducing energy consumption has. Additionally, it is likely that the public is not aware enough of the environmental importance of reducing energy consumption. It is highly notable in the energy consumption in the domestic sector, which has risen between 2013 and 2017. Without raising awareness, it will be impossible to make the public change their consumption habits and lead to long-term projects.
As mentioned above, many countries have set goals and established plans to become more effective and reduce energy consumption. Therefore, they have incorporated education programs and broad campaigns to raise awareness. For example, in 2016, the German government launched a campaign for energy efficiency measures to encourage consumers, companies, and public institutions to become more efficient. The campaign was broadcast on many different platforms, including posters, commercials, websites, and more.
A few similar initiatives have been formed in Israel recently:
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“Energia Berosh Aher” (Energy with a Different Mindset)—an educational program for elementary school and junior high school. About 900 schools took part in the program between 2013 and 2015. The initiative includes a website with the same name, that offers digital modules, lesson plans, quizzes, and simulators on various related topics (e.g., daily usage of electricity and its consequences, how to use energy wisely at home, and the grading of the energy consumption of electronic devices).
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Kits to implement scientific and technological principles, to encourage behavioral patterns that promote energy-saving and efficiency. The kits provide an active experience with various technological mechanisms and allow for the investigating and solving of energy-related problems. Seven hundred schools received the kit between the years 2015 and 2019.
In the next five years, the ministry plans to broaden its digital platforms and to continue developing the website and providing teachers with online education tools. It will also invest in developing new kits for pupils which will allow them to experience energy saving on their own. Finally, the educational programs mentioned above will be extended, through educating and tutoring teachers, developing classes, supplying online tools, and more. The budget for these steps is estimated at 10 million NIS (about 3.05 million USD).

2.2. Publicity and Raising Awareness

The Israeli ministry of energy has led a few campaigns in recent years to raise awareness of energy consumption at home:
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Campaigns: between 2016 and 2019, two campaigns were running to raise awareness of energy efficiency, focusing on energy consumption in households and energy efficiency. The two campaigns are estimated to cost about 1 million NIS (about 310,385 USD).
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Raising awareness for energy efficiency: the ministry collaborated with several organizations to run two campaigns to raise awareness in the various Israeli sectors and companies.
In the next five years, the ministry plans to launch campaigns on different platforms (TV, radio, social media)–a vast long-term action which aims to change the consumption habits and behaviors of households. The campaigns will focus on changing consumption habits, raising awareness of the upgraded regulation of electric devices, encouraging the public to take part in education programs about energy, and more. These campaigns are estimated to cost 20 million NIS (about 62 M USD).
While many countries met and even exceeded their goals, Israel is left behind and has met none of the goals set yet [20]. The original goal, announced in 2015, was that by 2020, 10% of the electricity generated will be produced by renewable energy. However, by the end of 2020, the percentage was only 5.7. In 2021, it reached 7.5–8%, which is still highly disappointing. The low numbers for 2021 mean that there is great doubt regarding the chance of meeting the other targets set by the state, including the interim target for 2025, according to which 20% of electricity consumed in Israel will be generated from renewable energies, in addition to the target for 30% renewable energy by 2030. Therefore, even though there is positive progress, Israel is lingering behind all countries mentioned above. It is time to consider improving the current programs and adding alternative ones (Roe, 2022) [20]. In The “Green Ambassadors in the Community” course, researchers hope to increase elementary school pupils’ awareness as part of a shift in thinking. This change will be aimed at affecting graduates, extended families, and the entire community.

References

  1. International Energy Agency (IEA). Status of Power System Transformation; IEA: Paris, France, 2017.
  2. Krishna, K.S.; Kumar, K.S. A review on hybrid renewable energy systems. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2015, 52, 907–916.
  3. International District Energy Association. Combined Heat and Power (CHP): Essential for a Cost Effective Clean Energy Standard; The International District Energy Association (IDEA): 2011. Available online: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/11/f4/chp_clean_energy_std.pdf (accessed on 1 February 2022).
  4. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dCHPP (CHP Policies and Incentives Database). Available online: https://www.epa.gov/chp/dchpp-chp-policies-andincentives-database (accessed on 1 February 2022).
  5. The White House Pesident Barback Obama, Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future. 2011. Available online: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/issues/blueprint-secureenergy-future (accessed on 19 February 2022).
  6. IEA. Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage. 2019. Available online: https://www.iea.org/topics/carbon-capture-and-storage/ (accessed on 10 February 2022).
  7. Social Protection Statistics. 2019. Available online: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Social_protection_statistics#Social_protection_expenditure_and_GDP_rates_of_change (accessed on 27 January 2022).
  8. Dickel, R. The New German Energy Policy: What Role for Gas in a De-Carbonization Policy? No. 85; OIES Paper: NG, 2014; Available online: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwinq7Ps7pr4AhVFGKYKHVeDCkoQFnoECAgQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.oxfordenergy.org%2Fwpcms%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F03%2FNG-85.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3HKePY7Vp9h81hFPZHbDU0 (accessed on 1 February 2022).
  9. Britain, about the Fit Scheme. Available online: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmentalprogrammes/fit/about-fit-scheme (accessed on 1 February 2022).
  10. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Updated Energy and Emissions Projections 2016. Available online: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/599539/Updated_energy_and_emissions_projections_2016.pdf (accessed on 29 January 2022).
  11. Distributed Energy in China: Review and Persoective 2020–2025. Available online: https://wri.org.cn/en/research/distributed-energy-china-2020-2025 (accessed on 1 February 2022).
  12. Paris Renewable. Global Status Report (Paris: REN21 Secretariat). Paris Renewable Energy Policy Netw. 21st Century France. 2018. Available online: https://www.ren21.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/GSR2018_Full-Report_English.pdf (accessed on 1 February 2022).
  13. International Renewable Energy Agency Roadmap. Doubling the Global Share of Renewable Energy: A Roadmap to 2030 Working Paper. Available online: https://www.irena.org/-/media/Files/IRENA/Agency/Publication/2013/IRENA-REMAP-2030-working-paper.pdf (accessed on 1 February 2022).
  14. Jennings, P. New directions in renewable energy education. Renew. Energy 2009, 34, 435–439.
  15. Kandpal, T.C.; Broman, L. Renewable energy education: A global status review. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2014, 34, 300–324.
  16. Vardimon, R. Assessment of the potential for distributed photovoltaic electricity production in Israel. Renew. Energy 2011, 36, 591–594.
  17. Lehmann, H.; Peter, S. Assessment of Roof & Façade Potentials for Solar Use in Europe; Institute for Sustainable Solutions and Innovations (ISUSI): Aachen, Germany, 2003; Available online: http://sustainable-soli.com/downloads/roofs.pdf (accessed on 29 January 2022).
  18. Sørensen, B.; Watt, G. Trends in Photovoltaic Applications, Survey report of selected IEA countries between 1992 and 2005: Report IEA-PVPS T1-15: 2006. 2006. Available online: https://iea-pvps.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/tr_2005.pdf (accessed on 1 February 2022).
  19. The Israeli Ministry of Energy. (2020, November). Israel. Available online: https://www.gov.il/BlobFolder/guide/rd_chief_science/he/RD-booklet-2020-WEB.pdf (accessed on 1 February 2022).
  20. Roe, A. Israel’s Renewable Energy Production Appears to Have Fallen Short of Its Target. Calcalist.Co.Il Retrieved 27 February 2022. Available online: https://www.calcalist.co.il/local_news/article/bkf0tock5 (accessed on 22 February 2022).
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