Clean, reliable power
Suppose all those living in a rural village or a commune clubbed together for a windmill to provide clean, reliable power or the residents of an urban district shared in generating enough solar energy to supply all their energy needs. This doesn’t have to be a dream for the future; the technology already exists. It would be true energy democracy. Consumers would be the real innovators, planners, and decision-makers as to how they generated their own renewable energy at a local level – cleaning up the environment, cutting costs, reducing imports and contributing to the fight against climate change, all at the same time. Many small rural communities have installed their own Wi-Fi networks, or even mobile phone networks. Isn’t it time to do the same thing with energy?
In politics, voters want more and more to make local choices that affect them at local level. If the ultimate form of democracy is to be self-governing, then surely the ultimate form of energy democracy is to be self-generating. Fitting your own solar thermal panel, installing a biomass boiler, placing a heat pump or choosing a geothermal plant, independent of the grid and imported fossil fuels, would become the ultimate democratic right. Since half of every unit of energy coming into your home or your office goes on heating and cooling, you would be cutting your energy bill, switching from fossil fuel to renewable energy and reducing your CO2 emissions all in one move.
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