"If you want to be Che Guevara, stop walking around pointing to what’s bad"
From the vital and expanding Atlas Of The Future, a stellar example of one of their "FutureHeros" - Agamemnon Otero: Dynamo of renewables. In his own words? “If you want to be Che Guevara, stop walking around pointing to what’s bad. Want to be a true revolutionary? Rip up the paving slabs, plant a garden and cover your roof in solar panels.”
From the intro:
In South London a Uruguayan-born, New York-raised community entrepreneur and artist is tackling fuel poverty with renewables – while catalysing the true democratisation of the energy system through people power. In the UK the number of small-scale energy systems has jumped from a few thousand to over half a million – thanks in no small part to Agamemnon Otero MBE.
Always smiling, the Technical Director of nonprofit energy cooperative Repowering London has set up community-owned renewable energy power stations on social housing and infrastructure projects across networks of rail and transport.
Started in 2011 by a group of volunteers, Repowering sees that communities engage with energy to reduce CO2emissions, by generating decentralised low-carbon energy. Working in partnership with local councils, the private sector and community groups, it delivers local solutions to local energy problems with solar PV arrays on estates in inner-city areas like Hackney and Brixton. Now he’s turning his attention to tidal power from the River Thames and a city-wide network of Energy Gardens.
Agamemnon fizzes with energy. Some quotes:
Right now people feel disenfranchised. We have a systems failure. Young people don’t feel invigorated to go out and take a space in society. It’s not that they don’t want to learn, it’s that they feel there is not a way in. Adults feel excluded too. We believe that companies don’t have to be divorced from community development – they should be at the heart of it.
The domain of the tech world sits largely in white middle class and upper middle class hands. That’s where the money is raised and the pilots happen. Whereas the directors of our energy projects are the 65-year-old West Indian director of a local elderly food programme and he’s doing an energy trade with an 18- and 19-year-old brother and sister we work with, who both have kids. They will have the financial benefits.
I want to do away with prepaid meters. We are running the first blockchain project in the world to be done on a national grid – and it will be in Hackney (East London), owned by the community. They will have their own battery systems, they will be able to make the best trades with each other. It bypasses the algorithm of the smart meter, the intrusion into people’s lives and the selling of their data. I am so excited by it.