What role will ordinary people play in energy systems of the future? IIED and Hivos asked leading energy thinkers for their views. Opinions vary: some want to see a future where citizens produce, control or profit more from local energy resources; for others, companies and governments are likely to remain in the driving seat, with people acting as passive consumers.
A point of convergence is that energy solutions, however delivered, need to be more ‘people-centred’: they need to create jobs, incentivise users to be efficient, be accountable to customers, and promote off-grid and ‘bottom-up’ service design for poor communities. Accelerating change will require tried and tested tools such as price signals, and newer approaches focused on transforming the energy sector’s culture, education and leadership, strengthening civil society advocacy, and creating new spaces for cross-sector innovation.