Political significance of batteries and renewable energy

“We get the government we deserve”


  • Solar-powered batteries change global political power.
  • Solar-powered batteries will change the way we live.
  • The fact that no-one is talking about this in the UK election demonstrates the inadequacy of government which is not technology-based.

By Bill Butterworth

3 April 15



Energy bis power. If democracy is to be meaningful, the people must have energy. Renewable energy is changing everything. 

Which is more important to the families of the UK; the outcome of the UK parliamentary election or the announcement by Tesla of the USA of a battery that stores electrical power from the solar panels on the roof of a house and allows at least a level of less need of paying the electricity bill from the big suppliers and maybe, with solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy, complete independence?

Well, democracy is fundamentally important.  However, one wonders whether a change of government does anything more than tinker at the edges. The truth is that there are very bright people in elected government and the Civil Service.  However, there are very few, very very few, scientists or technologists.  The truth is that government has no structure at the top level that makes decisions (never mind the “advisors”) that understands the impact and consequences of technological developments.  So here are some thoughts to ponder.

  1. On the face of it, the development of batteries could, in the long run, allow the building of power-independent domestic households. The step by Tesla is dramatic but batteries will have to improve (in time they will) to give complete independence.
  2. This will change the business of power distribution.
  3. For the majority of us, this will take a very long time, generations in fact.
  4. This particular technology is currently based on Lithium. There is not enough in the face of this earth to put a battery in every household and, bear in mind, the Chinese control about 80% of the known world supply.

How much are the politicians wishing to be elected into the new parliament are talking about this?  At the time of writing this post, I have of heard none.  What can be done about, yet again, the Chinese out-thinking us in planning the future of its industry?  The fact is that our democracy is not science and technology based and, therefore is fundamentally weak.

By the way, this blog has talked about micro-organism-power batteries – see April 6 and 15.  Science is just about common dense and evidence.  Without that, democracy flounders.