Energy systems 2.0

Until this week, I had no idea that the World Wide Web that I am accustomed to is called “Web 2.0”, a second wave in the development of our most important medium for communication. Web 2.0 can be thought of as inspiring a shift in the role of the user, from receiver to creator, allowing participants to become “core developers”). The Web became a two-way street, constantly changing at the hands of the public (for a detailed description of Web 2.0 and its development, click here). As hard as it is to imagine the Web without its interactivity, Web 2.0 only came about in reaction to the dot-com bust, when the unidirectional Web 1.0 was in a crisis. The response, a rethinking and reworking of the existing system, introduced the world to many of the most successful applications and websites in use today, from MySpace to YouTube to Facebook.

In a similar sense, we are currently in an energy crisis, yet continuing to rely on old, out-of-date systems of provision that are no longer viable, economically or ecologically. Energy is distributed from power plants to consumers in a top-down fashion that leaves all the control in the hands of large corporations. Additionally, power stations produce massive amounts of waste and CO2 emissions, illuminating the need for a radical transformation in the way that energy is produced and distributed. What must occur, to follow the above analogy, is a shift to Energy 2.0.