Once upon a time we all lived in houses without toilets and running water. The power came from burning wood or peat or charcoal or coal.

Sensible minds created sewer systems from tax as well as water pumped to our houses. This was Government doing what was necessary and what the private sector initially could not. This model of to your door water and from your door sewage ensured health and hydration for the masses.

When gas and electricity came along the same model of to your home distribution was used. As a consequence massive utility companies now exist across the world (some Government owned and some not) supplying electricity and gas.

This was initially a sensible change – fires in homes for cooking and heating were a major risk to each dwelling and their neighbours in terms of burning down, but also the constant inhalation of smoke cannot have been good for people.

Piped gas for heat, burned in boilers to heat water with heated water pumped around the house is a genius idea. Similarly, electricity generated centrally and wired to our homes was a great idea when electricity first came along and for a long while after.

But, now we have been developing micro generation technologies for some time – solar panels on roofs for example; is there a better way of powering our homes?

Could we move away from centralised power creation (leading to coal burning and nuclear reactors) and head towards a de-centralised system where my home – everybody’s home – generates all the electricity it requires?

I have been pondering this for a while.

There has been a trend over time for home appliances to use less power – washing machines, fridges, etc. So the trend in consumption is downwards. Homes are being built which are much more insulated, so heating needs are also reducing. The development of batteries to store on site generated electricity is also developing (solar generates during the day, but power is required through the night as well).

So, if the technology is not there already, it probably soon will be. Which will lead to the return of the pre industrial revolution model of powering our homes – although it will be much safer than it was back then.

%d bloggers like this: