Here at CleanTechnica we try to cover developments in renewable energy as broad and in-depth as possible, but as our name indicates, there is a clear focus on technology. However the transformation/evolution of our energy system also has many other exciting aspects, and energy democracy through distributed generation and ownership is definitely at the top of the list.
What is Energy Democracy About?
In order to understand what transforming the energy supply has to do with democracy, it’s important to step back a bit and call to mind what democracy is all about.
Today, we tend to equate democracy with the ability to vote and elect those who govern us. While this is a very important trademark of a democratic society, there are also other signs and preconditions that have to be met. Probably the most important condition for a working democratic society is an enlightened citizenry that is capable of making free and independent political decisions based on what they believe is best for them and society as a whole.
So, why is the energy system so important for democracy? The reason is simple: Every individual, community, and nation depends on a steady supply of energy. Due to the nature of our current global energy system, which runs almost entirely on elite primary energy sources like coal, oil, gas, and uranium — which are only found in a few places — our entire society is more or less in the hands of a few powerful energy suppliers.
Since nothing works without energy and large parts of our energy consumption patterns are designed to consume only fossil energy, this existential dependency is limiting the ability to make free and independent decisions by politicians, business leaders, and private individuals alike – endangering / harming democracy on a national, regional, and even local level. Not to mention the harmful implications of massive amounts of unbalanced economic power granted to those few who supply us with the steady stream of on-demand energy.
It’s the 21st Century, Stupid!
Luckily, we have all the tools we need to overcome the energy system of the 19th and 20th centuries and move beyond those economic structures that built the modern world while destroying the world of future generations. I am sure you are aware of the technological possibilities, since CleanTechnica reports on amazing technologies every day, as well as new ways of organization, new types of investors, and a new way of thinking about energy.
Please enjoy this original video below on “Energy Democracy” in general and also what is happening in Germany. If you would like to learn more about the subject, please support the crowdfunding campaign for Energy Democracy TV. Since I am involved with the campaign, I am hoping for a massive CleanTechnica Bump during the last two weeks of fundraising. No preassure, but feel free not to disappoint me! 😉
EnergyDemocracy.tv will be a crowd-published, cross-media magazine app focusing on stories of people & communities taking their energy future into their own hands, reshaping their world. The goal will be to produce quality content that is informative and inspiring at the same time. The project is the brainchild of Kirsten Hasberg, who is not only incredibly well connected in the global renewable energy community, but also an experienced energy democratizer with an impressive resume (among other things, she has worked at the Nordic Folkecenter and in Hermann Scheer’s office).