Does green megawatt-hour stand a chance to become Arthur Clarke’s currency?

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TN Note: Energy currency was originally proposed by the Technocracy movement in the early 1930s. Modern chatter proves that the concept is still alive and well, and always connected to the Sustainable Development movement. This editor has spoken extensively about Technocracy as a replacement economic system, and how energy currency would be its lifeblood. (See Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation for a full discussion)

Famous British author, inventor and futurist Sir Arthur C. Clarkes predicted for 2016 the replacement of money by a megawatt-hour universe currency. He was not the first who thought in a similar way. These were Henry Ford (energy-backed money) and Thomas Edison (monetary policy and “energy dollar”).  Modern researchers, particularly, in US and Russia also say about “energy currency” and “energy standard”. Some of them even come up with ideas of concrete options, which, perhaps, still do not become a frequent discussion practice.  In the meantime the year of 2016 is getting nearer and nearer.  What’s about the Arthur Clarke’s prediction for all that?

It is often believed that “energy currency” may be materialized, while replacing money is still a fantasy. But the situation just seems a little bit backwards. Conventional money is close to be abolished – plastic cards and electronic records do prevail. The latter can be generally bundled to anything, though if to mean the global financial system, banks, credit structures, you should notice they do not change principally, and, within this framework, money does not abolish. Energy currency and energy standard, however, look like quite difficult matters at all. “Any” megawatt-hour (or kilowatt-hour) as a currency is striving to bring back the Gold Standard, “simply” electronic energy certificates reject the existing financial and so on systems (with all the consequences), and “eco-dollar” is regarded as untenable in the near future because of insufficiency of green energy capacity.  Actually, diversity of opinions and approaches is much wider – for example, check references [1-6].

But in one way or another, they all lead to rather cumbersome schemes.

Nevertheless, freely tradable renewable energy certificates or green certificates (RECs), which are often called “green currency” beyond the renewable power sector, seem a pathway. It is hardly imaginable that predictions for the future may refer to conventional fossil fuels. And it is unlikely that Arthur Clarke would do away with the sustainable development processes if he were among us today.
It could be very interesting if a reputable institution experimentally took RECs as a means of payment, or introduced a means of payment bundled to green megawatt-hours (kilowatt-hours) with tracking system like the European Guarantees of Origin (GoOs). However, such an experiment ought to be based not only on an opportunity to confirm the Arthur Clarke’s prediction but also on some additional factors. Below are my remarks in this connection.

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Footnotes to this article:
[1] Currency systems based on energy consumed. 2012
[2] Electricity as currency? 10 reasons it could work. 2013
[3] Hybrid energy market and currency system for total energy management: Invention (US 20130332327 A1). 2014
[5] Should currency be denominated in kilowatt hours? / Institute of Economic Affairs. 2014
[4] Solar coin – The first energy currency: Forum. 2014 – 2015.
[6] The relation between energy and currency. 2015


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