A new era in energy is rising over the horizon. With the surge in power from Solar and Wind, humanity has the capacity to generate more energy than ever before.
This cheaper energy will enable more people will be able to heat and cool their homes, travel further, access information, communicate faster, improve medical services, learn more and turn up the entertainment! At the risk of being the party-pooper, it might be handy to examine the cost.
Too much of a good thing…
Essentially, having more power means we are very likely to spend it. The problem with spending power is the generation of heat. Forget ‘peak-oil’. We zoomed over that bump and are sailing full steam ahead toward peak-heat. Why does spending power nearly always generate heat? The heat comes from simple friction. Most motors have some friction. Whether we cool our home with Solar Air-conditioning or solar-electric air-conditioning, the home exhausts heat into the street as well as generating some friction. It’s good for us but bad for the neighbourhood and the climate.
The downside of the cost of clean energy is very similar to the costs of the old dirty energy, but possibly worse. [We are not saying that the dirty energy is ok, it isn’t. It is both dirty AND hot.] During the dirty regime of fossil fuel and nuclear energy, the consumer paid for the energy use (e.g. dollars per barrel or cents per kw. Now, the consumer pays only for their set-up and very little for excessive use. The consumer is suddenly wealthy and empowered. She can splash it all about. The new energy consumer can share their excess with their neighbours. Whilst the suppliers are fighting like dogs over scraps, the new de-centralised power stations have been quietly liberating communities, like Tyalgum, since 2015. The war on energy suppliers has been won. Now, an army of grannies are installing power systems.
Consuming Less Is Still the Answer
Consuming less, even when it is clean and the source is free, is still the only option if we wish to continue to enjoy living on this beautiful planet. Having an active lifestyle, full of healthy food, good design to reduce the impact of climate change is achievable. Your permaculture course can be tailored for you. Build your resilience, knowledge and skills.