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What if, instead of having an enormous infrastructure for providing energy that you can just keep plugging into until you run out of money, the practice was that you had to install a new power source for each additional appliance you use in your home? e.g. If you buy a new computer, you have to set up (or lease) a new solar unit to power it. Would that encourage more circumspection about our individual energy consumption?

@lrhodes That's a reasonable suggestion in a more egalitarian society, but given that resources are not even remotely equal, that would only punish those with less while allowing the worst offenders to continue without consideration.

@grey I'm not sure. Energy is still a cost in a grid-based system. Some of that cost is direct — if you can't afford your monthly power bill, then you either cut back on usage, or they cancel your service. But there are indirect costs that are disproportionately borne by the poor, like proximity to power plants and their resulting pollution. Would this punish the poor more than a grid system?

@lrhodes
@grey

If the costs were what they are now for things like solar panels?

We don't have a data table in front of us so this whole conversation is somewhat moot, but my guess is it would be felt far more acutely.

Pollution may cause you harm down the road but if you're too poor to afford the solar units for a hot plate (which takes a lot of energy) then yeah, you're going to suffer a lot in the short term

@lrhodes @dualhammers covered it, but if the options become: debt or darkness - presuming debt is an option, then this could be crippling without effectively making them free for parts of society. As a bald proposal, it has issues. It also doesn’t address what happens when the weather is uncooperative, where does excess power go, cost of batteries, the effect on housing costs, etc. Rather than hash details, my question becomes: what would be the desired effect of your proposal, ideally?

@lrhodes
what power unit would you recommend for someone like me who lives in northern #Norway where lots of snow and lack of daylight for a large portion of the year, would mean solar power is not really a viable option?
A large portion of the power provided through the national power grid here, is generated in hydro power stations, but I can't really install one of those in my own home. ;)

@FiXato Yeah, it's not meant to be a universally applicable system. I'm more just missing about the impact in regions where it could be feasible. I'm convinced that clean energy alternatives are mostly palliative unless coupled with major reductions, but centralized power grids seem to encourage consumption.

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