The production and distribution of energy is about to change for ever. Why? Because in the coming years, we will be the ones producing and distributing the energy. And for those utilities companies who’ve sat at the very heart of the energy infrastructure for so long, they will struggle to survive…
The world is changing around us in ways that are mostly imperceptible. Huge change isn’t something we see a lot of, and when we do, it’s often very disruptive. The changes I’m talking about started a few years ago, when someone somewhere made a business case for the environment and sustainability. Prior to that, it was far more cost effective and cheaper to just take what was needed and to hell with what was left behind — usually very little of any use, of just the waste and cast-off of what we couldn’t make use of.
For my part, I saw the moment environmental awareness, business and energy conservation came together, in the form of a TV commercial. I’m sure most people really didn’t think too much to B&Q (a national DIY and home improvement chain) advertising solar panels. No major national retailer had committed advertising budget to that kind of of product. So this was, in many ways, a watershed moment.
Prior to this commercial going out on British TV, solar panels were prohibitively expensive, and were the domain of those living out in the wilds of some remote Scottish island or islet somewhere.
Keeping with the Celtic theme for a moment longer, more recently, Irish company Surface Power has launched what it claims is the world’s most efficient solar hot water panel:
“Certification by testing house TUV Rhineland has shown that the innovative product is up to 131% more efficient in morning and evening time and 76% more efficient at midday than other panels … Surface Power also believes its product could reduce domestic and commercial hot water bills by up to 70%.”
But this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, one that’s melting very quickly due in no small part to global warming, most probably.
Testimony to human ingenuity, alternative energy technologies abound, such as cargo ships pulled by giant kites, massive haulage air balloons, kinetic road ramps that produce electricity every time something runs over them, concept steam engines (external combustion) for automobiles, combined with regular petrol or diesel engines (internal combustion), solar “cell” technologies in the form of a paint, as well as the human body itself.
This is to say nothing of ultra efficient solar panels, underground water heating systems, waste reprocessing, mobile phones that draw energy out of thin air, or of power stations that run on manure and of transmitting solar energy from the ink black of space to the surface of the Earth.
So what does all of this amount to? There are now so many technologies that are working their way through feasibility studies, laboratories and field trials all over the world, offering ways of either reducing our energy usage, or ways of producing energy cheaply, that our dependence on the energy utility companies will demising to but a drop at the pump and a solitary Watt through the wires.
I say energy and not electricity specifically, because I’m talking about a fuels too, such as bio-diesels, hydrogen, ethanol et cetera. So not only am I talking about the company that you buy your electricity from, but also the company you get your petrol or diesel from. To be more ruthless with my words, and to pour scorn on the idea of an energy crisis:
“Because we’re now looking at different, renewable and highly fault-tolerant, often isolated methods of “off grid” energy production, the cabals and cartels running the energy empires of today will enjoy only short-term prosperity in the near future.
Over the long-term, energy production will become dirt cheap and abundant. So abundant that, if my theory is correct, controlling any energy source will be almost pointless, since no one energy source will ever be more significant — either technologically or economically — than any other.”
In the short-term, as the myriad novel energy conservation and production technologies come on-line one by one, the utilities will start to hike their prices up. But over the long-term, they’re not going to be able to compete and people will, by then, be aware of the alternatives.
So all the efforts of the utilities to gouge the populous for what little energy we do use will only hasten our mass exodus towards alternative energy sources.
Our homes will be so energy efficient, we will produce a surplus.
In this new, open energy economy that’s presently gathering momentum, we become the producers of an array of energies, silently supplying each other with power, well away from the measured, duty-charged and heavily taxed gaze of both the government and utilities…
- When it comes to the environment, we can do it if B&Q do it, too!
- Irish company creates world’s most efficient solar hot water panel
- Alternative energy technologies of the future
- Nokia phone charges by drawing energy out of thin air
- Europe, US make the most of manure
- ‘WiTricity’ wireless electricity for all?
- Open energy project
- What global energy crisis?