The Government has finally realised that the future is battery run and it's worth backing the academics and entrepreneurs who can turn technological edge into successful businesses. The changes to the energy market put forward by Ofgem are the kind of steps that open things up to innovation and give entrepreneurs a green light. The vision of prosumers - people who produce and consume energy in their own homes - is a revolutionary one. Headline savings of between £17-£40billion from our energy bills gives us plenty of financial incentive. Getting from here to there is the tricky bit and let's not fool ourselves about the Government's plans. They are a start, but I'm very doubtful that this Government has either the track record or the political willingness to carry it through.
Let's imagine those many millions of household prosumers living in 2050, free from the grip of the big six. Any 0vehicles will be electric and the fossil fuel giants struggle as petrol stations become a rarity. House prices have adjusted to the new reality, as solar panels on roofs and storage batteries on outside walls become essential standards. Power fluctuations are slopes, rather than peaks, which removes the need for a multi-million-pound capacity market of big power stations which currently make money from being on stand-bye, rather than from selling energy. There is an abundance of cheap electricity produced at a local level, which gets turned into hydrogen and replaces gas as a major fuel. A new set of skilled workers service the prosumers and sit alongside electricians, plumbers, car mechanics and heating engineers to keep the entire system running smoothly.
It is a world of decentralised power in many senses. No more wars for oil. No more reliance on Russian gas, or Saudi oil. No expensive lobbyists persuading politicians to pump billions into dinosaur technologies like new nukes. A household's economic well-being will be measured, in part, by their ability to meet their own energy needs. So will a country's.
I'm not claiming that any of this deals with the roots of inequality, discrimination and other evils, but it helps with one or two current problems, like climate change and air pollution.
Now imagine doing this by 2030, instead of 2050. We can if we want and there are some really good reasons why we should. So here are some ideas. How about giving storage units away for free to every household that gets solar panels, or has access to power from a local wind turbine? How about banning all diesel and petrol cars from polluted urban centres and increasing the subsidy we give to people buying electric vehicles in those areas? Or targeting the subsidy for electric vehicles on those who produce their own energy? Or, reversing the Conservatives' 65% cut to the feed in tariff which caused an 80% slump in solar panels and the loss of 12,500 jobs within the renewables industry.
Other countries are making the switch to renewables faster and with more consistency. Our own Government is clearly conflicted. It has an ideological rejection of renewables because they threaten to crowd out the vested interests of nuclear power and to reduce the profits of their friends in the fracking industry. However, there is an obvious Thatcherite appeal of millions of households becoming self-reliant players in the new energy market. I will happily work with those Conservatives who can help edge Government policy in a truly green direction, but only a Green government will deliver fast and positive changes to create a nation of green energy producing, eco -warriors.