Power generation around the world is largely a monopolized market; there are very few electric companies selling to billions of customers. This isn’t the result of a conspiracy to keep the public dependent on the elites, but rather a fact of life. Generating power requires massive upfront investments to build plants, and keeping these generators running at a scale that is both economically and practically feasible requires many workers. This unfortunately leaves consumers with few options when it comes to upholding even the most basic of standards of living.
As is the case with many antiquated institutions, technology is challenging the traditional hierarchy when it comes to electricity distribution. The company LO3 out of Brooklyn is bringing the power market to the local level. It allows a community to purchase electricity from within. This in turn gives consumers a better idea of how their power is being produced. This is not unlike the movement towards supporting locally sourced food; people these days want to ensure their actions are having as little an environmental impact as possible.
This process also produces better efficiency than centralized generation. Traditionally, our power can travel many miles from plants to reach our homes. This brings losses along the way, no matter how advanced our transmission stations become. LO3 wants to remove this unnecessary distance. Localized power generation may also lead to increased investment in solar energy, as potential buyers gain a larger economic incentive to switch.
Ultimately, decreasing our reliance on non-renewable energy sources will come down to the individuals of our world. Government programs can only do so much; there is no law that forces the installation of solar panels. People need to change their habits to reduce consumption while also increasing efficiency. Citizens taking their energy needs into their own hands is a great first step.