There is a growing anxiety about losing power for good.
This week, NBC debuted Revolution, set in a post-apocalyptic world that has lost electricity, with the protagonists on a quest to restore it. The show highlights a growing anxiety about losing power at a time when, on an individual level, our addiction to digital devices is driving a constant, never-ending need to plug in. Duracell has tapped into this anxiety to promote its Powermat, which charges devices wirelessly, exhorting customers to “Never Be Powerless.”
Looking at the big picture, global energy demand is expected to grow 39 percent by 2030, according to BP, but investment in infrastructure lags. India’s electric grid all but collapsed earlier this year, leaving nearly half the population without power for extended periods. The issue isn’t limited to developing regions. In the U.S., demand for power has grown 25 percent since 1990 while relevant infrastructure has increased by only 7 percent, according to Forbes columnist Aaron Jagdfeld, head of Generac Power Systems in Wisconsin. America’s power grid is “aging and fragile,” he says, “and its susceptibility to outages means our way of life could break down in an instant.” A study by the American Society of Civil Engineers says the nation must invest $107 billion by 2020 to keep up with demand.
One key issue in our digitally connected world, as ReadWriteWeb points out, is that “Power outages are no longer a local problem.” In June, severe storms shut power at an Amazon data center in Virginia, affecting Instagram and Pinterest, among other services. As some nations abandon nuclear power and the quest for cleaner energy wanes, expect the discourse around power to get more heated and consumer anxiety to rise.