The energy paradox
Jakarta, 15th March 2010
I am in Jakarta for the day, a country rich in resources and one of the most populated countries in the world. I spoke about black-outs and brown-outs 2 blogs ago and Indonesia is certainly one of those countries where the availability of energy supply is critical to its development. So fittingly I read in the newspaper on my way this morning about the paradox between the commonly agreed need to safe energy and thus seriously reduce our carbon emissions and the fact that little seem to happen on the front of actually doing so. Are governments failing in their campaigns to create awareness or are developers and consumers simply ignoring or not interested following up on it?
The paradox seems to lie in the fact that those using the energy are not necessarily the ones paying for it. For instance why would a developer invest extra money in premium “green” products if he is not the one benefitting from the savings? Why would a consumer pay a premium price for more expensive energy saving lights if it takes several years to earn back the additional costs? With the expectations of falling (LED) lamp prices, it looks like many are adopting a wait and see attitude.
We encounter this continuously in our projects. The developer of a hotel for instance, is generally not the one operating it. So while the operator may request, and actually specify, in their design manuals the maximum power load per m2, the developer is the one who has to foot the bill for the premium costs to achieve this. It is not surprising therefore that many developers are reluctant to invest in it. Why should they?
So how to solve this paradox…I’m not sure, but there will need to be some sort of incentive for the investors to make it work beyond just environmental consciousness.