• Renewables are not “decentralised” in a good way
  • Inter-reliance is not safe
  • The true energy transition is about to begin

“Decentralised” has become enough of a buzzword to be rendered meaningless. Everyone has their own definition these days. And every tech company’s marketing department uses the word “decentralised” to describe their latest innovation.

Perhaps it’s because everyone wants to be associated with bitcoin, which runs on a truly decentralised system. There is no institution keeping tabs on who owns what bitcoin. Nor who sent what to whom. Instead, the system runs on a network of computers. If some fail, or try something dodgy, it doesn’t cause much of a problem for the rest of the grid. It is decentralised in the sense that it is so spread out that it is exceptionally difficult to disrupt.

There are more questionable applications of the term “decentralised”. The cloud, for example, appears to be decentralised. But the information storage and processes you use “on the cloud” are really being hosted on hardware somewhere. Even if they have backup, they’re not truly decentralised. The cloud is merely a metaphor. Hard drives don’t fly.

Usually, this distinction about what is and isn’t decentralised doesn’t really matter. But sometimes, it can be absolutely crucial…

Inter-reliant is not decentralised

Last week, The Fleet Street Letter released what I consider to be its most important prediction yet. Aside from correctly warning readers when World War II was about to begin, of course…

We are on the cusp of an energy revolution that will upend the economy as we know it. And artificial intelligence will be its trigger.

As part of our effort to ensure our readers are ready and positioned to profit from the true energy transition that is about to begin, we had to dispel a myth. I’d like to reveal that segment of our monthly issue to you today…


Renewables rely on a broad grid in order to minimise the risk of intermittency and running out of energy storage. The bigger the grid, the less likely that intermittency will become a problem. It’s always sunny and windy somewhere, goes the theory. You just need to move the power there.

It is very risky to build an isolated energy system reliant on renewables. You’d need a vast amount of energy storage for the times that your renewables are out of operation. And, even then, run the risk of running out of energy eventually.

Renewable energy advocates argue for a decentralised energy system to reduce this risk. Each household and factory has its own solar panel array and battery. But they all remain connected and inter-reliant. Together, we can evade intermittency.

Such a system functions or fails on a grid-wide basis. You can’t selectively use someone else’s battery one day and refuse to let them use yours on another day.

So, the renewable energy version of a decentralised energy grid is really anything but decentralised in one sense. It is an inter-reliant energy grid whose parts can only function as part of a whole. Or fail to function, in which case the whole thing goes down together.

To run a truly decentralised grid that does not run the risk of failure, you need to be able to control the power production process yourself. It needs to be in human hands, not the weather’s. And if you have this power, why build a vastly expensive interconnected grid at all?

An           -based energy system is also decentralised in the sense that a lot of private energy producers exist. The key difference is that they are not inter-reliant. They are not subject to the weather, nor limited energy storage. They don’t need each other in order to function.

And that is the whole point when you cannot rely on each other because of the grid’s various issues once it is fuelled with intermittent energy and inherently finite energy storage.

That’s why I’ve decided to call the process I’m describing “the fragmentation of electricity” – the breaking apart of the puzzle pieces because the picture they create is an ugly mess.


That’s all I can reveal here. Subscribers’ eyes only and all that.

Of course, in hindsight, it’s obvious that inter-reliance isn’t safe.

In the run-up to World War I, it was fashionable to say that there wouldn’t a major war because of how integrated global economies were with trade. The same appeared true in 2022, when Putin was preparing his invasion. Surely the gas trade made such an act implausible? Economies were too interdependent to wage war.

But it seems that such inter-reliance actually breeds fragility. Something that geopolitical enemies and mother nature will eventually seek out and take advantage of.

A truly decentralised grid – one that is not reliant on connections to other parts – looks very different to one run on renewable energy. But what will it look like? You can subscribe to The Fleet Street Letter today to find out.

Until next time,

Nick Hubble
Editor, Fortune & Freedom