I’ve been referring somewhat vaguely to “a future that makes sense” in posts recently. It’s something I hope to flesh out over the next year or so. One thing I want to do is lay out some broad principles that would distinguish a FTMS from a continuation of the status quo (which would definitely not make sense).

One of those broad principles involves a shift from centralized hubs of production or decisionmaking to distributed, loosely networked local nodes. I’ll probably write a long, wanky thought piece on this at some point — there’s a lot to say — but for now I just want to point to a great example of the challenges of distribution and how they’re being overcome.

Let’s focus on distribution in energy, though I think the benefits are generalizable. Distributed energy — whether it’s rooftop panels, solar farms in the 2-20MW range, small wind farms, small hydro, geothermal, cogeneration and other waste-heat capture, district heating and cooling, or small biomass generators — has certain advantages over equivalent power from large coal or nuclear plants. It saves on capital costs; it can be built (and financed) in increments, over time, rather than in one big chunk; power sources can be located on marginal or already developed land, closer to loads, saving on transmission costs and inefficiencies; it disperses the economic benefits and political influence of power generation more broadly and equitably.