Most clean energy sites get reader comments like: “You hippies all just want us to live in caves!” As if the only actual usable energy is fossil energy.
Anyone who writes about renewable energy or climate policy soon discovers your fear that if we replace coal and gas electricity, if we switch to wind and solar, hydro and geothermal, biomass and ocean power, that means there will be no more life as we know it.
We will descend from the first-world standard of living we are used to — to living in caves.
Well, perhaps I can show you first-hand experience of what it might be like, living in a nation that is 80 percent powered by renewable energy, because I’ve lived in one for almost a year.
I moved from California, with its typical American first world standard of living, to New Zealand — with a pretty much identical standard of living, 80 percent powered by renewable energy.
I can attest that, other than subway train drivers, New Zealanders don’t spend much time in dark caves.
If you live in one of the states in the U.S. that is over 80 percent coal-powered, you might be unable to imagine such a radically different way of keeping the lights on. But you’d find that your actual standard of living will not change if your life is 80 percent clean powered.
People in New Zealand live a normal first world lifestyle, just like people in the eight U.S. states that get over 80 percent of their energy from coal, like Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia or Wyoming.
What New Zealand shows is that you won’t be required to change anything about your life once your power comes from clean energy. You don’t have to become some high-minded hippie.
You can shop in the same kind of banal big box stores that you are used to in America, even when they are powered by clean energy. You can live in a big house, and watch your big screen TV, with all your appliances easily powered by clean energy. Microwaves, vacuum cleaners, computers really work just the same on clean energy as on dirty energy.
You don’t have to make any change to live with 80 percent renewable energy. As they say here: “No worries, mate.”