Energy will shift from an invisible, taken-for-granted detail in consumers’ lives to a more consciously sourced and consumed commodity. Energy - and, in particular, cleanly-generated electricity - will become a social and community element. As residential consumers increasingly generate and store their own power, it is inevitable that they will want to transfer this between each other - to buy and sell their energy.
The value in peer-to-peer markets is in allowing price signals to reach the edge of the grid. Prices allow buyers and sellers who may care about very different things - maximizing profit vs. minimizing carbon footprint - to transact in mutually beneficial ways. In a properly-designed p2p energy market, each consumer would be able to, in effect, place their own price on carbon emissions.
This bridges a major gap in consumers’ relationship with their carbon footprint. It is possible for an individual or household to reduce, even eliminate, their carbon footprint – by making individual choices about lifestyle and purchasing. And through subnational, national, and global policy shifts it is possible – if challenging – for societies to act in concert to, say, mandate emissions reductions. But there is very little that individuals within a community can do to influence the carbon footprint at the local or municipal level
We can work individually, or nationally, but not as a community to lower carbon.