Electric infrared heaters and an electric society
The power source of electric infrared heaters is electricity. Therefore, this industry segment is tightly linked to the topics of electric power generation and renewable energies.
Like many other countries, also the European Union has made it their goal to limit CO2 emissions, improve energy efficiency and increase renewable energy generation.
The EU 20-20-20 targets until 2020; source: Clemens Henry, presentation, European energy policies, Berlin energy days 2011
This was reiterated at the United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris, France, in 2015. There, an international consensus was found to limit the global temperature rise to 1,5°C to 2°C in order to limit the greenhouse gas emissions. The EU’s long term goals until 2050 are to cut the greenhouse gas emissions by 80 to 95 percent compared to 1990 levels.
According to Prof. Martin Faulstich, chair of the German expert committee on the environment and chair of the German CUTEC institute for environmental and energy technologies at the German Technical University Clausthal, these lofty goals can be achieved and sustained, based on a societal change.
In this regard, Prof. Faulstich coined the German word “Stromgesellschaft” – electric society.
Prof. Faulstich (left) in discussion with German Vice-Chancellor Gabriel (right) about energy policies; source: cutec.com, photo by Uwe Epping (click on image for a bigger picture)
The electric society
In the long term, there will be no need anymore for nuclear and fossil fuel power plants for the purposes of power generation, transport or heating and cooling buildings.
Fundamental changes in the electric power sector
In Europe, Germany is leading the way for more renewable energy. In the process of the German “new energy deal” (“Energiewende”), politics and the media are currently focusing their attention on the fundamental changes in the business model of the German power companies. The subject about the potential winners and losers of that process will be explored in more detail in another article.
However, if Europe wants to establish itself as a future-ready and sustainable green electric society, more emphasis on the mobility and heating/cooling sectors is necessary.
The pioneers of a green transport sector
Utilizing renewable power sources from i.e. wind or sun, and store them in electric batteries is not new. Using those batteries on a massive scale in conjunction with electric motors for cars is a relatively new phenomenon.
This pioneering work done by companies like TESLA MOTORS INC. is providing the transport sector with the basis for a greener future in an electric society.
pioneers in electric transportation: TESLA MOTORS and CEO Elon Musk; source: Forbes.com (click on image for a bigger picture)
Electric mobility finds increasing acceptance, but is using renewable energy for heating and cooling buildings ecologically correct?
Absolutely. All across the moderate and cold climate regions of Europe, electric heating with electric heat pumps and electric infrared heaters is on the rise. This was not ecologically correct as long as heating devices used solely nuclear and fossil fuel based power.
However, European countries established ambitious goals for increasing their share of renewable energy in their energy mix.
In 2014, the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of the European Union reached 16 percent, according to Eurostat data. Further, nine out of twenty eight EU states already accomplished their 2020 renewable energy goals in 2015.
share of energy from renewable sources in the EU member states 2014 in percent of gross final energy consumption; source: Eurostat news release 30/2016 – 10 February 2016 (click on the image for a bigger picture)
According to the latest report “Trends and projections in Europe” issued in late 2015 by the European Environment Agency, the European Union is on track to meet its 2020 target of 20 percent of EU energy from renewables.
Sustaining the current pace of growth in renewable energy sources could enable the EU to achieve its target of a minimum 27% share by 2030.
With this in mind, the building sector of a green electric society will include an increasing amount of local and decentralized renewable energy systems, in combination with affordable and energy efficient electric heating and cooling technologies.
For heating purposes, electric infrared heaters will play an important role in any green electric society.
Oswald Oberladstatter, ME