A solution had been discovered for the world's energy problems. Ultra compressed matter (UCM), A.K.A. nanoscopic black holes, tear apart atoms that are fed to them in just the right trajectory, and in doing so release a remarkable amount of energy.
Before long the production of UCM power packs was automated and commercialized, resulting in cheap power for everyone. This heralded a new golden age right out of Buck Rogers, with space travel, flying cars and hand held energy weapons of almost unlimited power.
It's been said that with great power comes great responsibility. Of course that isn't necessarily true.