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What You Need To Know About The Energy Democracy

You might think of your smartphone as just a communications tool, but it's fast becoming a critical technology in the distribution of electricity as that kind of energy becomes more "democratized."


That was one of the takeaways at the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's annual conference in Boston recently, where John Farrell spoke. He's director of energy democracy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, also known as the "guru of distributed energy."

John said the US energy system is undergoing a remarkable transformation to decentralized and renewable power, something especially interesting to large consumers such as commercial properties, and it couldn't happen without sophisticated communications tech.


Smartphones and automated controls allow an unprecedented decentralization of control, John said, and as transportation and heating become electrified, and clean, renewable power grows at an exponential rate, it's finally competing on cost with fossil fuel energy sources. The 21st-century electric grid can give individual consumers power over their power, but only if the rules are written right.