Depictions of the alternative energy technologies of the future suggest salvation is at hand — but most of the politics and material realities associated with them are invariably missing.
To support uncritically any and all initiatives that describe themselves as ‘energy alternatives’ would be to invite chaos and unending conflict — and would make a liveable energy future impossible. A new 96-page report, ‘Energy Alternatives: Surveying the Territory’, from The Corner House and its partners, attempts to move discussions forward not by simplifying the debate but by clarifying how complex it is.
The main conflict in energy policy today is not between ‘business as usual’ and ‘The Alternative’, but among the many different proposed alternatives themselves. The difficulty is not just that these alternatives are so diverse; the questions they address and the problems they aim to tackle are also different, as are the criteria for answering them, the vocabularies in which they are expressed, and the politics with which they are associated. Figuring out what the assumptions and audiences of the various energy alternatives are is half the work of assessing where a democratic and survivable energy future might lie.
Read the report http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/resource/energy-alternatives
‘The Museum of Fetishes’ http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/resource/museum-fetishes
This article accompanying the report attempts to bring them into the picture, so that essential discussions about energy alternatives and futures do not degenerate into an irrelevant show of magic tricks.