“Tangibility” is the word that comes up constantly – you don’t waste it when you can conceive of the energy you have invested in coming in to your house. Feldheim, in Germany, is the most evolved example of this in Europe, and possibly in the world: it powers itself entirely on wind, solar and biogas. All the financial investment is from the villagers, of whom there are 150. The numbers are slightly messed up now by its massive eco-tourist trade, but this much is clear: when you are a stakeholder you pay less and you use less. Naturally, at the level of the individual, this only applies to renewables. There’s no scope to buy a small share in your local coal mine or oil refinery. So there’s an inevitable slant towards sustainable energy – which is the direction I’d like to go in anyway. But if we could take ownership of energy, whatever its source, at a national level, we might see the same behavioural changes played out at that level – a real negawatt revolution.
Eh? Something gets cheaper so you use less of it?
when you are a stakeholder you pay less and you use less
This would rather change our world if it were true. The question is, is it true? And given that renewables are in fact more expensive, watt for watt, than non-renewables, I think what’s happened is that she’s got this wrong. The power is more expensive which is why people are using less of it.
But any other explanations gratefully accepted.