Jean Lievins: Utility 3.0: How to Democratize Energy in the U.S.

05 Energy, Civil Society, Ethics
Jean Lievens
Jean Lievens

Utility 3.0: How to Democratize Energy in the U.S.

As the U.S. turns to renewable energy, the question remains: who will benefit? 

Among those concerned with the United States’ energy future—including, increasingly, the utility companies themselves—the business model known as “Utility 2.0” appears as a beacon of hope. Utility 2.0 addresses the concerns of both energy watchdogs and conventional electricity utilities by offering the latter financial incentives to adopt greener, more flexible infrastructure. But while this new paradigm presents solutions to many of the problems associated with centralized, fossil fuel-reliant power grids, some argue that it does not go far enough.

In a December 2014 report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, John Farrell makes the case for a more radical shift, which he calls “Utility 3.0” or “energy democracy.” By relocating control and ownership from the utilities to their customers, Farrell argues, Utility 3.0 allows communities to take advantage of the economic as well as the environmental benefits of the shift to clean energy. Read full article.

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