They’d all known that they were doomed when they built that industrial power station, big enough to power the entirety of Europe; it was ugly and stood with a defensiveness and hatefulness. Grey and dirty, but more efficient that several separate stations, the cables were thick and charged as they spread their web over the countries, protected under waters and high lining the skies – of course there were still separate stations where the massive station was opposed and here in England where the independent state ruled, but still it was the main energy supplier to Europe.
It spread over thousands of kilometres, burning tonnes and tonnes of fuel, nuclear reactors, wind turbines, solar panels, hydroelectric dams on every river it crossed – all creating a buzz and surge that filled the rooms with light and sound when those in Europe simply flipped the switch. Encased in a metal dome, recycling the waters, making the wastes into something new and useable, it was a dream suddenly in motion and ominous in its reality. Most of the old stations were destroyed, the building materials reused elsewhere, the old turbines moved the new station – it cost billions and revolutionised the European life. And it lasted for nearly a hundred years.
Although, all the safety measures, all the protection in the metallic casing, the recycling, reusing, sustainable energy, it was all faulted. Breaches in security had allowed the plans to be readily available by all who wished to see them by the grace of the internet search engine. Protesters against the mega station sabotaged the separate generators…
They jammed the wind turbines or removed the huge fins, broke the solar panelling with sledgehammers and hi-jacked all the trucks bringing in fuel to the station, dumping them in the reservoirs and rivers until the hydroelectric dams were beaten down or incapable of creating more energy than it used.
Then they all lived on energy rations; one half hour of energy output per person in a household per day, no more than eight people per household and no luxury electrical devices, no hairdryers, no more than an hour of computer usage per day, no television, no hoovers, no lights during the day, no stereos, no tumble driers, no dishwashers, nothing that couldn’t be done by the sweat off of your own brow. It was all on the strictest of timers per household and as soon as your ration was up – there would be nothing but darkness in the houses.
But they survived; candles were no more just something you kept for during blackouts and hallowe’en nights, but a staple in the home, fires in the home rather than radiators – children learning how to make quilts, knitting, crochet, carving ornaments, making furniture with hand tools, even lots of adults learning the skills.
They lived off of the small surviving stations and the nuclear reactors in the mega station, the entire of Europe, living on a handful of stations. Some people even sold off their rations, and made do without for days or weeks on end, only using energy when the clothes they wore were too dirty to last longer.
There was a halt in new manufactured goods. Hand-me-downs between families, charity shops and reclaim, sharing the wealth and selling old furniture rather than just throwing something away, fixing items that failed – it became vogue. Wearing things you made with your hands, hand stitched, hand knitted, remade from scraps of fabric – Europe became resourceful to a point of pre-industrialisation. But it wasn’t enough for the protesters, and then came The Day.