Averting the Approaching Energy Catastrophe

Swaffham turbine

Many people are becoming aware through the almost daily discussions in the media (at last) of the completely unnecessary crisis which the present Conservative-LibDem government is intent on inflicting on the British people through pursuing energy policies inherited from the previous (Labour) government.  These policies are embodied in the Climate Change Act 2008 and the Renewables Energy Strategy 2009.  People’s electricity bills are already being increased under these policies.

Nothing Britain does or does not do about energy and CO2 emissions in the United Kingdom can have any perceptible effect on the Earth’s climate now or in the future (though reducing dust and noxious emissions from the United Kingdom’s atmosphere through the Clean Air Act 1956 has been just about the most effective piece of legislation ever on our local air quality). 

However, Prime Minister David Cameron (“make Britain the ‘greenest country in the world”) and his Foreign Secretary, William Hague (“we must show moral leadership on this issue of climate change”) are evidently prepared to inflict industrial catastrophe and widespread fuel poverty on their country in the pursuit of a fantasy future, based on impossible-to-achieve “renewables” energy and emissions targets, rather than tackling the overwhelming priority for Britain which, in the cut-throat world of international competition, is to secure dependable, affordable energy and electricity supplies, which are as far as possible under its own control.

This can only be achieved and managed with a predominantly nuclear-based electricity generation policy, with renewables (primarily wind and tide) which have a marginal part to play, supplying folk in remote places where the comparatively small amounts of electricity generated can be backed up by diesel generators for when the wind doesn’t blow or is blowing too hard, or the tide isn’t ebbing or flowing (about 75% of the time).

Such an alternative “Secure Energy Strategy” by Stephen Bush and David MacDonald is set out in their paper “Averting Catastrophe: Ensuring the Security and Affordability of Britain’s Energy Supplies 2011-2050” posted on this website 1 June 2011.  This paper was originally presented to the “Climate Change: Who is Paying, and for What?” Conference organised by Rev Philip Foster at Huntingdon, England, on 19th March this year.

The profound irony is that the “Secure Energy Strategy” (SES) would cost much less, avoid blackouts, and from 2030 onwards would reduce CO2 emissions below those which the government’s windmill-based policy will do, because it will not need gas-fired power station backup.

Also since all the uranium which the UK will need for years to come is already present in the UK, the SES will also provide that degree of national control so vital in a world where energy sources will soon be under huge pressure from the 3 billion people in the emerging economies.

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