Perceiving and persevering

By
Frits Spangenberg
Founder of Motivaction

“I have energy, therefore I will continue to have it”, a typical thought from any energy consumer. Where companies focus on deliverability and sustainability, some consumers focus solely on cost which leads to miscommunication. As a sociologist, I know of the discrepancy between what the public perceives and how this discrepancy is kept in place.

I would like to share my views on sustainability in the Netherlands, the country I know best. There is a large group, mainly youngsters, who ignore the situation as they feel sustainability is something vague and is to be dealt with in parliament or by those who are green. The point is, they, and to be honest, we, don’t feel responsible. Our perception is that someone else is sorting sustainability out for us. Herein lies the challenge.

During the Offshore Energy Industry Panel, I discussed how this perception relates to other countries. It varies and is very much dependent on diverse circumstances. Sustainability is a controversial topic in the United States, though not for the reason you might think.

It is a point of debate between Republicans and Democrats and as long as they don’t agree, sustainability within the United States will never be accepted among the people. You need that groundwork. At the other end of the spectrum, Chinese people and the Chinese government are heavily focused on being sustainable and it is easy to explain why. Natural disasters and famine were frontrunners to the current peak in economic growth. They appreciate all they have.

At the other end of the spectrum, Chinese people and the Chinese government are heavily focused on being sustainable and it is easy to explain why. Natural disasters and famine were frontrunners to the current peak in economic growth. They appreciate all they have.

So how do we change faulty perception? How do we bring the message home to consumers that they have a role to play in their own sustainable energy future? We communicate! I know, it is crazy. Knowing your consumer, cost-driven or green-driven means you can better bridge the gap between perception and fact. Let me give you an example. In the

In the Netherlands, you can use energy at a reduced rate at night. This was implemented to decrease energy peaks for providers while offering price benefits for consumers. Strangely enough, few consumers switched to energy use at night even though appliances nowadays have timers.

Fact is, consumers are not fully to blame. If the energy use were actually more evenly spread over the night, you would soon find certain power plants redundant. Which goes directly against the interests of power producers. If politics, industry and society, really wanted this to work, we would find a way. We would build a solid base obliterating any faulty perception. I think in general that is the message, green is not cool – until we as a country make it so.

Originally published in Offshore Energy Newsflash.

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Posted on January 25, 2016 with tags .

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