From Engine of Evolution:
In the 15th century a new trajectory of diversification developed, probably catalyzed by the invention of the printing press, a device which increased the resources of government enormously.
Laws, for example, could be circulated far more widely and more accurately than ever before. But more important still was the fact that the printing press increased the size of the educated and literate classes. Renaissance civilization thus took a quantum jump, acquiring deeper foundations than any of its predecessors or contemporaries by calling into play the intelligence of more individuals than ever before. But the catch (from a ruler's point of view) was that this development also brought public opinion into being for the first time. Not for much longer would it be enough for kings to win the acquiscence of the nobility and the upper clergy; a new force was at work, as was acknowledged by the frantic attempts of all the monarchies to control and censor the press.
It was towards the end of the 18th century that the dominant form of government turned 'national', and people were educated in their own mother tongue; not in languages of other civilizations and other times. Societal control became characterized by large, heterogeneous, internally differentiated class structures, a manifestation quite extraordinary in history.
Today, communication medium is different (i.e., Internet not Printing Press). Today, the political system is different (i.e., Industrial Democratic not Monarchy). But the system pattern is identical (except ours is happening faster because we can communicate faster and we're operating in a more decentralized system). So the current popular dissent we're expressing will likely manifest itself in a new political system, but not before we get new energy, just like the previous transition. Once we have new energy (and more energy), we'll have more decentralized power, and with more decentralized power, we will be able to restructure the current system.
What about simply de-centralized energy? With a solar roof and geothermal, I can build a house off of the grid here in Michigan. Residential solar has taken a dramatic shift where upfront costs are covered by companies such as Solar City, and customers pay off the investment and still save over utility power. It's now being wrapped into mortgages, where the cost of the mortgage on a new construction actually decreases if you put a solar roof in it.
I recently posted an article about a utility company's resistance to the surge in consumer-side production in Hawaii. Just imagine when those households all have EVs.
I think the energy transition is already happening. I have a couple of houses on my block that are basically off of the grid.