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Introductory citation

Networked (distributed, p2p) energy anchors a networked economy and society:

'As long as fossil-fuel energies underlie every aspect of the global economy, every other commercial enterprise that relies on these fuels for its materials, power generation, and logistics will be forced by necessity to continue using a vertically integrated business model and centralized management to achieve its own economies of scale and stay alive.'

- Jeremy Rifkin (Zero-Margin Society)

Introductory Material


"Energy is the material basis for human survival and development. . . .

  • The first industrial revolution, from 1770 to 1860, . . . . . . was built on Coal in England. . . .
  • The second industrial revolution, from 1910 to 2010, . . . . . . was built on Electricity in United States. . . .
  • The third industrial revolution, . . . . . . will be built on Renewable Energy and Energy Internet."



  • A reading list of key energy writers, recommended by John Thackara: here
  1. Can Renewable Energy Sustain Consumer Societies? Samuel Alexander and Ted Trainer.
  2. Introduction: Energy from the Perspective of the Commons
  3. George Papanikolaou – Peer to Peer Energy Production and the Social Conflicts in the Era of Green Development; with Vasilis Kostakis, see the P2P Energy Manifesto
  4. Jeremy Rikin on the Energy Internet: [When New Communication Technologies Converge With New Energy Systems]]
  5. John Robb on the Energy Trap: there is no replacing of fossil fuels by renewables under the current economic models
  6. Nine Pitfalls of Alternative Energy: "This isn’t an argument against alternative energy. It is however an argument against having unreasonable expectations for what alternative energy sources can deliver in the short time span in which we’ll need to transition to them."
  7. Jeff Vail on the Energy Trap: a detailed investigation ; Jeff Vail’s Call for a Scale-Free Energy Policy
  8. Eric Hunting – On the prospects and strategy of peer-to-peer energyl
  9. John Michael Greer: The fundamental limits in energy supplies ; Reply to Greer by Stuart Staniford: Limits on the Thermodynamic Potential of Archdruids
  10. What we should know about past energy transitions. Cutler Cleveland on energy transitions.
  11. John Thackara: When Renewable Energy Becomes a Snake Oil Recipe
  12. Correcting Negative Mythis about Renewable Energy
  13. Joshua Pearce, Photovoltaics - A Path to Sustainable Futures
  14. The Internet is NOT an Energy Hog




Facts and Figures

Status: TheRise of Decentralized Renewable Energy Is Happening Faster Than Anticipated

  • Renewable energy passed up nuclear in total installed power capacity in 2010 (worldwide) Clean Technica [3]
  • Annual government subsidies for renewables amount to $57 billion, compared with $b312 for fossil fuels [4]
  • Solar energy is now cheaper than nuclear energy [5]
  • 51% of all renewable energy in Germany is owned by individual citizens or farms, totaling $100 billion worth of private investment in clean energy. [6]

Energy Crowdfunding Platforms

The three forms of distributed finance for distributed energy:

  1. Leasing, e.g. Solar Leasing Financial Model
  2. Community Power, e.g. Community Solar Financial Model
  3. Power Purchase Agreements, e.g. Solar Power Purchase Agreements

More information on the theory: Peer to peer finance mechanisms to support renewable energy growth


  1. Solar Mosaic
  2. SunFunder
  3. Abundance Generation
  4. CleanCrowd
  5. Microgenius
  6. Sunnycrowd
  7. OnGreen
  8. Skipso
  1. Green Fundraising
  2. Green Unite
  3. GreenFunder
  4. Green Crowd


Distributed Energy

  1. Bill McKibben on Why We Need a P2P Energy Grid; Jeremy Rifkin on the InterGrid
  2. Towards a World Wide Web of Electricity. Michael Powers.
  3. How Green Capitalism Differs from Distributed P2P Energy Projects. Kevin Carson.
  4. Report: Sustainable Agriculture and Off-Grid Renewable Energy. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho. ISIS contribution to UNCTAD Trade and Environment Review 2011 [7]
  5. How Renewables Will Change Electricity Markets
  6. The bright future of solar thermal powered factories

Status reports:

  1. Global Clean Energy Investments 2005-2009. G20 stats compiled by Hazel Henderson et al.
  2. Global Renewable Energy Status Report 2009
  3. 2007 Status of Decentralized Renewables and Micropower
  4. Peer Production and Industrial Cooperation in Alternative Energy‎‎
  5. The energy transition juggernaut : lots of both objective (uptake) and subjective (public opinion) stats

Let's not forget:

  1. The Case against Nuclear Energy and for Renewables. By Conrad Miller.

Green Computing

  • Report: Smart 2020, enabling the low carbon economy in the information age
  • The monster footprint of digital technology: The power consumption of our high-tech machines and devices is hugely underestimated. Here are the statistics to give insight in the true ecological cost of our digital infrastructures.

The facts:

  1. The Energy Effiency Fallacy
  2. How much energy does the Internet use?
  3. ICTs in the home account for almost 50% of energy use
  4. IT to consume 40% of world's electricity by 2030

Policy Proposals

  • Surveying the Territory of Energy Alternatives, check the Report: Energy Alternatives: Surveying the Territory. Corner House, 2013: [8] The main conflict in energy policy today is not between 'business as usual' and 'The Alternative', but among the many different proposed alternatives themselves.

  1. Five Policy Solutions to the Climate and Energy Crisis. By Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute
  2. The "centralized" $420b Solar Grand Plan of Scientific American.
  3. Peter Barnes commons-based proposal: Why We Need a Cap and Dividend based Skytrust to solve Global Warming
  4. Neither Carbon Taxation, nor Cap and Trade and Cap and Dividend will work, nor even pass, because it combines immediate hardship with deferred benefits; what is needed are Cap and Reward systems, which immediately reward virtuous behaviours, argues Bill St. Arnaud
  5. Beware of the Energy Efficiency Fallacy
  6. Chris Cook's proposal for a Global Natural Energy Grid

See also:

  1. Thermoeconomics]: scientific pathways to solar energy

Specifics: Green Computing

Proposals for Green Computing, by Bill St. Arnaud:

  1. Free Fiber to the Home
  2. Green Grid
  3. Green Broadband
  4. Follow the Energy Computing Grids
  5. Bits for Carbon Trading
  6. Virtualization as strategy for green computing

Overview essay:

  1. ICT and Global Warming. Bill St. Arnaud

Nuclear Energy


In the wake of the Lovelock and Wired magazine arguments, Alex Steffen expresses his concerns about nuclear and his desire to see a global commitment to creating a clean-energy economy.

Alex Steffen shares a 2006 report that states that nuclear is not a climate-friendly energy source.

Research from Stanford University ranks the world's energy options -- putting wind, concentrated solar and geothermal at the top of the list, and nuclear power and coal with carbon capture and sequestration in a tie for dead last.


General articles about energy future challenges:

  1. Sustainable Energy for World Economies. Tariq Muneer.
  2. Energy Security and the Social Use of Energy. Igor MatutinoviĆ.
  3. Open-source development of solar photovoltaic technology

Renewable Energy Transition Plans

Via [9] :

  • a team of scientists from Stanford University led by Mark Jacobson published a study showing how New York State could switch to a 100 percent renewable energy infrastructure by 2030–a highly ambitious plan that would only wind, water solar energy to power not just electricity but all forms of energy consumption, including building heating and cooling and transportation. The plan is a follow up to a more general proposal that powers the entire world with renewable energy in less than two decades.


  • a team led by Vasilis Fthenakis, a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, published a study showing how the entire United States could go renewable


  • in 2011 a World Wildlife Federation report (prepared by Ecofys Consulting) has laid out another path to 100 percent renewable energy.


Short Citations

Equipment powering the internet accounts annually for 9.4% (or 350 billion kWh) of the total electricity consumption in the US, and 5.3% (or 868 billion kWh) of the global usage. [10]

Long Citations

"Energy independence at the local level is in large part achieved by eliminating reliance on any single energy source, whether that is oil, gas, natural gas, biofuels, wood, solar, or wind. In other words, resilient communities need to be able to input all available energy sources and convert them into a standardized format. Further, that format must be usable in a plethora of different ways."

- John Robb [11]

"The industrial capacity for building alternatives is a tiny fraction of what would be needed to substitute for fossil fuels even within 2 decades, given the massive scale required. (Just to give an idea of the scale involved – per Bill McKibben’s must-read book Eaarth the sunk cost of today’s fossil fuel infrastructure is $10 trillion, and would require 10-50 years of operation for capital cost recovery.) Almost none of the substitutes provides a dense liquid fuel substitute for oil that can be used in transportation or agriculture. The only alternative that does – algae-based biofuel – is extremely far from commercial viability and requires even more land area per unit energy than corn-based ethanol."

- barath [12]

Bill McKibben on the Carbon Bubble

"The oil companies, private and state-owned, have current reserves on the books equivalent to 2,795 gigatons -- five times more than we can ever safely burn. It has to stay in the ground. Put another way, in ecological terms it would be extremely prudent to write off $20 trillion worth of those reserves. In economic terms, of course, it would be a disaster, first and foremost for shareholders and executives of companies like ExxonMobil (and people in places like Venezuela). If you run an oil company, this sort of write-off is the disastrous future staring you in the face as soon as climate change is taken as seriously as it should be, and that’s far scarier than drought and flood. It’s why you’ll do anything -- including fund an endless campaigns of lies -- to avoid coming to terms with its reality."

- Bill McKibben [13]

Key Resources

  • Category: Energy - Open Source Ecology wiki
  • The Energy section of Appropedia
  • Energy Collective [14]: an independent, moderated community of professionals focused on the complex challenges of meeting the world's energy needs sustainably.
  • Wind Works Archive [15]: Online archive of articles on wind energy, feed-in tariffs, and advanced renewable tariffs.

See also:

  1. To monitor developments, see also our Delicious tag on P2P Energy
  2. the Distributed Generation Educational Module

Key Companies

For distributed energy creation:

  1. Nanosolar: plastic solar panel manufacture: “Panel cost of manufacture is said to be $0.30 per watt. Panel cost at retail is around $1. Price of a machine which will print panels: $0.16 per panel per year.”
  2. Konarka Technologies: “thinks their panels will be about 1/3 the price of nanosolar. In about a year or so.”
  3. Jellyfish Wind Turbines: $400 a pop
  4. Quantum Energy Generator

See also:

Key Podcasts

  1. Stephen Lacey on the Renewables Gap
  2. The Renewable Energy Podcast series

Key Videos

  1. Tom Raftery on the Smart Grid and Electricity 2.0: well done, comprehensive, introduction
  2. Understand the genius ofthe Cap and Share proposal through this five minute video introduction
  3. Great and crucial introduction to Peak Oil dynamics: What You Should Know About Peak Oil and Resource Depletion

Open Source Energy Projects

  1. Absorber Roof:low cost solar absorbing roofing material, details in the public domain
  2. Build-It-Solar - Plans and tools and information to do renewable energy and conservation projects.
  3. Canuckle: designed to be the LEGO of alternative energy. The first project is a highly accurate solar tracker
  4. Concentrated Solar Power Open Source Initiative ; (CSPOSI) - Project Archimedes: hybrid thermal solar collector for distributed power generation and water purification; Software and electronics hardware for concentrated solar power under GNU General Public License [17]
  5. Gasifier Experimenter Kit: biomass gasifiers that are ready for everyday use, to serve distributed energy needs.
  6. Open Source Arduino Sun, see Heliostat Projects
  7. SHPEGS Open Energy Project (Solar Heat Pump Electrical Generation System): open concept for a renewable base load power station for moderate climates, based on solar and geothermal heat [18]
  8. Solar Flower: an open source solar energy collector which can be made very easily from common recycled and salvaged materials [19]
  9. SolaRoof, open design of solar energy for households


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