The global energy system is set to undergo a revolution similar in magnitude to that experienced by the communications and computing industry, according to the former CEO of SSE, Ian Marchant:
“Now there are already one million small generators from community-owned wind, small scale biomass, rooftop wind and solar, and a decreasing number of older, large power stations. That trend will continue and in 30 years’ time we will have millions and millions of small power stations in this country.”
However, this long term trend is only likely to emerge out of the ashes of our current energy system:
“We will need a crisis, one that will lead to squeaky bum time, night after night. The lights won’t go out but the prices will be so high that heavy industry will be self-disconnecting and this will force an apolitical, long-term, rational debate about energy.”
Marchant may be wrong about the lights staying on in the event of the government’s dash for gas failing. He may also be wrong about the energy debate being apolitical in the event of bills rising to the point that millions of households are forced to stop using energy. This aside, it is entirely likely that we will need an energy crisis before we can have a sensible debate about our energy future.