There is an alternative: community-controlled renewable energy alongside an economy designed to meet the needs of people and the environment, not the needs of the market.
Renewable energy is cheaper and cleaner. Instead of a dash for gas, we need a rush for renewables – energy generated from sun, wind and tide would bring down our bills and tackle climate change.
A transition to renewables goes hand in hand with decentralising our energy system, putting power back in the hands of communities and in the process doing away with outdated energy company giants like the Big Six.
If communities, not profit-driven corporations, reclaimed power, they could generate their own energy from renewable sources and distribute this on the basis of people’s needs, not private profit. We’re catching a glimpse of this in the energy co-operatives emerging across the country, including Bristol, Brighton and Brixton. These schemes come into the context of a surge of public support for renewable energy.
But we can’t hope for energy democracy in an otherwise anti-democratic world. We have to stop the cuts and demand higher wages. We have to fight for well insulated, affordable and secure housing. And we have to do all this as part of the broader movement for the radical re-organisation of society across democratic, fair and environmentally sane lines.