Euro, Dollar, Pound and Yen are under fire from some critics: these currencies have lost their connection with the real economy and take no account of the scarcity of real resources or the distinctive features of particular regions. The necessity of growth and the maximization of profit are pre-programmed by the system of credit creation. Proposals for energy-based currencies aim to create an alternative: a medium of exchange compatible with the structure of renewable energies, which is stable in the long-term, emitted decentrally and actively promotes sustainable regional development or investment in renewables. The idea of an energy-backed currency is not new. The first known monies in the ancient world were ‘solar biomass currencies’. Shekel coins in ancient Babylon served for example both as a receipt and as a redemption certificate for grain stored in the giant grain stores. Currencies with a connection to energy were sometimes mentioned in discussions during the currency crises of the 20th century. Nobody has yet realized such a currency as a legal tender currency. In the face of increasing conflicts over resources, modern energy technology innovations and the increasing profile of complementary currencies, energy currencies are again being discussed. Recent proposals for energy currencies are often inspired by existing parts of the energy-economic jigsaw such as Crowdfunding and Community Joint Venture Enterprises, Energy Certificates, Smart Metering with intelligent electric meters, digital accounting and payments systems and blockchain technology.

Further Literature: Tony Greenham, Josh Ryan-Collins, Ludwig Schuster: Energising Money Report. New Economics Foundation, 2013