… Civic energy could provide half of our electricity by 2050, which could lead to the end of power plants as we know them…
The growth of a civic energy sector would be bad news for the large utilities. The UK’s traditional Big Six energy providers would lose ground in both the generation and supply markets and would need to shift their business models to provide new services. Civic energy would need some early support, but it could soon become the natural preference over what an increasingly outdated utilities sector is offering, having failed to anticipate the potential of local energy and what customers want from their energy providers.
Distributed energy would need both technological and institutional change. It would require lots more small and medium scale renewables – more solar, onshore and offshore wind, biogas heat and power plants, and marine energy such as tidal generation. All of these new technologies would need to connect to much smarter distribution grids than we currently have and would require new ways of moving power from the bottom up as well as the top down.
This excerpt deals with the UK, but the value of distributed energy is universal. I’m a believer that the “liberal” and “conservative” distinctions in America aren’t useful, and each contains in its more contradictions than philosophical consistency.
It’s been surprising to me that conservatives seem generally not to have grasped the value or potential for solar and other renewables to reduce the effects of centralized power (both political and actual) in this country.
If there was ever a practical example for bringing things down to a more local level, and equipping citizens and neighborhoods and communities to function without reliance on higher levels of government and bureaucracy, this is it.