The energy industry used to be simple.Vertically-integrated utilities sat in the middle of the system, like benevolent
spiders spinning a web out to the last consumer requesting connection: they decided where and when to build generating capacity; they decided how to
bridge the distance between generators and loads; they kept the system in balance through the deft application of the levers available to a centralized controlling entity.
While progressive utilities and regulators try to position themselves as consumer-focused or consumer-centric, the reality is, even the most progressive are only rephrasing a narrative that pushes citizens into categories of consumers.
Clinging to the umbilicus of the power network, consumers are fed a steady diet of price and product. The cost of energy security can be counted in terms of control, certainty and economic independence.
But a global technology revolution has changed the power balance between consumers and centralized power authorities. The booming market in Distributed Energy Resources (DER) like solar photovoltaic systems (PV), batteries, microgrids and embedded networks has moved the power balance from central authorities to the edges of the grid, to where citizens have control.
And it is not just about controlling the cost of
energy consumption, it is a reflection of
peoples’ desires that their energy supplies are
more sustainable, more socially-responsible,
more local, more resilient and more democratic
All that is needed to move the revolution into the
mainstream is a model for energy trading that takes
control out of the hands of central players and puts
everyday citizens in charge of a co-created energy future.