AMSTERDAM – As a toddler I’ve once put my finger in the wall outlet. The shock that I got of it has marveled me ever since. What was this shock and where did it come from? I was completely mesmerized by the warmth, which entered our house through a hole in the floor. I could lay down on the wooden spindles of the convector put and keep staring down for hours to the spiders who had found their home between the metal flanges of the radiator that caused the warmth. Where did this warmth come from?
I still have this mesmerization. I work at the Energy Plant of the VU and the installations in the plant still impress me every single day. The impressive installations, which generate electricity, warmth and cold, are standing stoically in the plant, as if their job is nothing. I’m mesmerized by the man and woman who maintain the installations passionately and fascinated about the technique of the installations – day in, day out – just as I am. They are so calm and “to the point” in case of emergency, which I am not, but which is so important. Uninterrupted energy supply is literally vital in our energy plant.
Also mesmerized by the people who use energy without thinking about it, who consider electricity as self-evident while not being aware of the process towards the delivery of electricity, warmth and cold. I think this is disrespectful to the installations and the man and woman who maintain them, who do their job 24/7 without hesitation. My call to everyone is therefore: take a critical look at your energy usage. Is the energy, which you use, really necessary? Many people think that the small amount that they use is nothing in comparison to the energy usage of the bigger users, but little bits of energy usage can amount to a whole lot. To illustrate this the researcher G. Procaccianti from the Software & Services group, took a look at the energy usage of the YouTube film “Gangnam Style”. In three years the film has been viewed so many times that the energy usage equals the usage of approximately 30.000 households!
I can’t help myself. I keep walking into the energy plant. The installations are working, to serve our needs, in suspense about their own future, when they will be swopped for fossil-free alternatives. The process to fossil-free will be a challenging one, on which I will keep you posted in this blog, and all the different aspects of it. I wonder what techniques will bring a good solution, or mix of solutions, for our energy demand in the future. But the existing installations are still here now. I give them a little clap on their robust mantels, feel the vibration, and thank them for another day of energy.