The societal and economic adversaries caused by the acute energy crisis in Pakistan are being realized at all levels of the society. Everyday there are several news of new plans and initiatives to bring the energy crisis under control. One of the topics under serious discussions is how to increase the proportion of energy generation through “renewable resources”. When I read about Pakistan exploring the possibilities of increasing the share of “green energy” or “energy sufficiency”, I just can’t fathom why Denmark is not on the top of the list as a role model and potential source of inspiration for technological advances, social and business innovations, and knowledge for becoming one of the leaders in “green energy”. Denmark is a country where the mantra of green growth moved from mere political and social discussions to reality and fueled a “green industrial revolution”. Denmark is one of the most energy-efficient countries while living the most modern and comfortable lifestyle in the world. Denmark’s energy consumption has not grown for 30 years, despite economic growth of around 70 percent. How did this happen?
The energy crisis of 1970s stimulated Danes to start thinking and acting to reduce their dependence on imported resources (e.g., oil) for generating electricity. A major outcome of that stimulation was the decision to make significant investment in strategic and operational research and development activities aimed at drastically decreasing Danish reliance on fossil based energy resources and energy consumption. The action plan started like a movement that engaged all the key stakeholders i.e., the politicians, the regulatory authorities, the scientists, the thought leaders from departments of technology, business and management, energy, the educationists, and the public. The movement mobilized all kinds of social actors for making Denmark “a green energy savvy economy”. The ongoing journey that started almost 40 years has made Denmark one of the leading countries in the World in terms of generating a significant proportion of energy from “renewable resources” as well as a leader of technological innovation and social engineering for “fossil free energy”. It was a combination of developing and leveraging the cutting edge know-how in fossil-free energy, intense collaboration between the industry and research institutes, and social actions of the whole society that has led them to become a nation that is not only self sufficient, but also able to export energy, expertise, and technologies. I believe that the policy makers, industrialists, scientists, and general public in Pakistan can learn a lot about the “less energy, more growth” style of Danish prosperity through active multi-tier engagements.
Any kind of collaboration between Denmark and Pakistan in general and energy related knowledge sharing initiatives in particular will help set a positive vibe among people and governments in these countries which have not had great friendly links because of misunderstanding and mistrust caused by some unfortunate controversial issues. While strategic initiatives and policies at the government level are important to promote large scale and fruitful collaboration between Denmark and Pakistan for exchanging cultural, social, political, business, and technological knowledge and expertise, we should not underestimate the potential usefulness and value of individual and organizational connections for encouraging research, education and training in energy related technologies and solutions that have led Danish people and companies to develop and use smart energy solutions. Pakistani officials or general public interested in gaining the expertise and know-how about solving their acute energy crisis can look for the “Pearls of green energy wisdom” in the state-of-the-art clean tech companies, interdisciplinary research and innovation centres across many Danish universities like Aalborg University, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Aarhus University, and many other ;research centres and institutes focused on devising new ways of generating renewable energy, education and training.
One can easily think of huge number of different types and scope of mutually beneficial Pak-Danish collaborations in the green energy sector; collaborative ties can be started and nurtured in different sectors, ranging from the households, the businesses, the agriculture, the transportation, the education, the research, and the public agencies. Such activities will also help open up the minds of Pakistani society through social networking and social actions to the notion that green energy along with economic growth is the most viable, and sustainable solution to the energy system and to life in general.