Columnists: Rod Janssen, Independent consultant

Published on: 15 Mar 2011

Music, maestro!
Energy efficiency in syncopated time

The new energy efficiency plan for Europe may lack ambition but is still much more impressive in many ways than the state of policy a decade ago. Energy efficiency appears finally to be established within energy policy - although I use the word “appears” advisedly. Certainly, senior management in the European Commission now takes energy efficiency seriously. I ponder how to describe the position that energy efficiency has achieved in the policy mix and popular priorities.

In a quandary, I turn to my iPod. I am about to play Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus when I hesitate. We have come a long way, but are we ready for such euphoria? I consider Beethoven’s 9 th symphony and its Ode to Joy. Hmmm, again I wonder. The unofficial anthem for all Europe is perhaps not quite appropriate just yet.

I abandon the classical theme and turn to my much-loved musicals. Do I choose “Dream the Impossible Dream” in the musical that has Don Quixote “tilting at windmills.” But both offer metaphors for hopeless and unnecessary battle – not quite right for a low carbon battle, and I optimistically reject them.

I consider the 1990s musical, Jekyll and Hyde with its stirring “This is the moment”:

This is the moment,
This is the time,
When the momentum and the moment
Are in rhyme!

Undoubtedly we have momentum. You can feel it throughout most of Europe. People are talking about energy efficiency in a more meaningful way than ever before. And I hope it is the moment. But is this transformation into Mr. Hyde really the right image?

Not quite convinced, I check my jazz section and find Miles Davis’s “So what?” I know the feeling. Before getting into Stormy weather, I move on from the jazz section.

I keep flicking around. Ah, the Beatles. “Here comes the sun.” No, no, no. Those renewables people are always getting the upper hand.

I find “Staircase to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, and I only wish. Queen offers “We are the champions.” Are we? Keep flicking. . .

It seems my daughter has sabotaged my iPod by adding “Good News for People who Love Bad News” by the indie band, Modest Mouse. What does that tell us? What is she telling me?

Finally, I find musical truth in Bob Dylan, The Times are a-Changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Dylan’s anthem of revolution and evolution does reflect that, for energy efficiency, the times are a-changin’. Efficiency is finding its proper place as part of energy and climate policies. And not just blowing in the wind.

The dream is not an impossible dream. This is the moment.

The views expressed in this column are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the views of eceee or any of its members.

Other columns by Rod Janssen

Oct 2016

Apr 2016

Nov 2011