Myth: A sustainable energy future will require us to embrace austerity and use less energy

 |  6 May 2024

False. Solar power combined with wind power and battery energy storage (SWB) will provide energy that is both cleaner and cheaper than fossil fuels, which will mean more energy per person, not less.

Solar power is now the cheapest form of power in most of the world. (Watch RethinkX co-founder Tony Seba explain why in our YouTube video) Because energy is an input into virtually all other goods and services, as the cost of energy falls, so does the cost of everything else. Cheaper energy will mean cheaper transport, cheaper food, cheaper water and so on. A world powered by SWB is therefore one of abundance, not austerity.

Energy abundance goes hand-in-hand with social and economic prosperity. History clearly shows that energy austerity is a path to poverty, inequality and conflict, not prosperity. (Read p5-6 of Rethinking Humanity for a more detailed analysis of abundance vs austerity across human civilizations, by James Arbib RethinkX co-founder)

Moreover, using less energy will not solve our sustainability challenges, just as extinguishing only some of the flames on a burning building will not save it from destruction. (Watch RethinkX Director of Research Adam Dorr describe why austerity will not solve our greatest challenges in our YouTube series 'Brighter').

Focusing on the quantity of energy is therefore a red herring. Instead, we must focus on whether our energy is clean or dirty. Energy from SWB is clean, and as long as energy is clean, more is better.

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A new, clean energy system run by 100% SWB is inevitable, and will produce a superabundant surplus of clean energy at near-zero marginal cost that we call SWB Superpower. There will be no need for austerity when there is abundance!

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Published on: 12/07/23

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