Life is merely an orderly decay of energy states, and survival requires the continual discovery of new energy to pump into the system. He who controls the sources of energy controls the means of survival.
– CEO Nwabudike Morgan, “The Centauri Monopoly”
There is an old saying that you can’t take it with you. ‘It’ refers to money, and the implied destination is the afterlife, whatever it might turn out to be. With money being what we are used to seeing – currency and bank accounts – this is an eminent truth, rooted deeply within the material conditions of our situation. On Chiron, things are ever so slightly more metaphysical. If life is energy (and energy is life), then you can indeed take it with you, either through an orderly unleashing of the accumulated power into the general environment (presumably to the same state of entropy you went to), or through some sort of symbolic outburst which causes some big event to fire which ultimately culminate in – nothing.
A big hurdle in power generation is what to do with it. To be sure, being able to produce monumental amounts of energy during peak performance is impressive, but it is not necessary to do so at all times, and it would cause the machinery to degrade at too fast a pace to be sustainable. It would also burn fuel for no particular gain. Most of the time, what is needed is a moderate output, with a little extra on top to prevent brownouts. Producing at maximum capacity would thus be both wasteful (seeing as no one uses the power generated), and counterproductive. You can’t take it with you, as it were.
An economy based on accumulated energy turns this on its head, however. Not only is cranking up the generator to the max profitable – it is the very definition of profit. It still runs into the same hurdle of having to go somewhere. The surplus that is not pumped into the energy grid for consumption has to be put into some sort of storage – a big honking battery, to use a technical term. By calling this facility an energy bank, the game is ever so slightly making a pun out of the situation – it is both an accumulation of batteries (a bank) and a financial institution. It would have been sufficient to simply call it a bank, but it would not have conveyed just how intertwined power and wealth are.
An interesting question arises with regards to just who is put in charge of these institutions. On the one hand, ensuring a steady supply of power is crucial to life on Chiron. On the other hand, as we have seen here in our own timeline, there is profit to be made by being able to direct the flows of currency. It is possible that these banks are merely big backend batteries that hum along with only occasional maintenance. It is also possible that they become a reincarnation of the power companies of yore, who were none too discreet about how power can mean both energy and political influence. As with the recreation commons, I suspect it differs from faction to faction.