Ulrich Beck, the German sociologist, once said that modern culture condemns us to try and “find biographical solutions to systemic problems” – i.e. that we pretend that individual action can deal with issues that are collective in nature. Nowhere is this more true than the attempt to live a low-carbon life.
Slightly left over, I have to say, from my last job, but Prashant Vaze and I have co-written a report published today by Consumer Focus, which sets out a framework for a new energy infrastructure – A New Energy Infrastructure Final (2)
The current regulatory model does, more or less, what it aims to do, which is to encourage an efficient supply of energy to meet the country’s demand. What it does not do, which is the challenge of low-carbon living, is to encourage an efficient use of energy. We argue the case for opening up who can invest in and provide energy networks and the potential for new co-operative models.
Drawing on a national survey, we can show that, in terms of a public view, twice as many customers would prefer to see new energy cooperatives emerge to lead this than would turn to the current ‘big six’ utility firms.