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10 responses to “Renewables fudge”

    • nommo

      Bah! Two worlds of spin – worlds apart and very different kinds of spin!

      * The government
      * The wind energy sector

      I totally agree with you on the energy independence front Dale. We really need to grow our own energy as well as our own food!! (and preferably no more fudge!)

    • eazibee

      Dale – I agree. The point about the renewables targets, surely, is how to improve UK energy security through the increasing use of renewable energy sources – which in turn reduces the impact of our energy use on the local and global environment… Transferring new technology to developing countries is another great idea – but that helps them meet their energy needs and renewables targets, not ours… E

    • Baboonboy

      Maybe we should be allowed target offsetting if we also included the carbon emissions released from UK companies abroad in part of our targets. Not sure Mr Hutton would go for that considering that up to 15% of global emissions can be attributed to the UK or UK businesses abroad according to Christain Aid…

    • Chris Blount

      Agreed Dale,

      I have to say I’m starting to wonder if the government is committed to this at all!

      This is constantly made out to be an untacklable GIANT! A task too great for human kind!! But the reality of it is, it’s ALL POSSIBLE!

      For example, one of our biggest problems is rooted in the assumption that burning oil is the ONLY way to get around on land. Not only is it not the only way, but it’s one of the MOST inconvenient ways!! Ignoring the huge environmental impact of exploration, spillages, refining and usage of oil for a second… We have to import vast amounts of oil from all over the world, some from particularly unstable areas, at a high financial cost. Then at the end of that, we burn the oil up in cars, which only use about 25% of the energy pumped into them! The rest is wasted in idling, heat and breaking. It’s particularly wasteful and inefficient. Add to that, it’s a finite resource. So what happens to a finite resource as pressure on supplies increases? Its price increases dramatically, atleast causing much inconvenience on the way, as well as possibly increasing tensions and conflict.

      How do we solve it? Electric vehicles. There are electric cars out there already that are cheaper, faster, easier to maintain, mostly recyclable and cleaner than equivalent motor cars (even if charged from a fossil fuel generated source!). Electric cars already on the market, use about 85% of the electricity channelled into them. (See the Think, G Wiz, MiEV, Aptera, Tesla, Lightning, Smart EV, Mini EV, EV1 and more!).

      Add to that we COULD charge these with renewable electricity! Imagine this…

      Starting in London and moving out from there, we bulldoze every ‘Shell’ petrol station in the UK. In their place we put ‘ECOTRICITY CHARGING STATIONS’! You drive in just as you would for petrol, hook up your car to a 100% green charging point and head into the station. In the station there’s a coffee shop, internet points, papers and magazines etc. Sit in a relaxing atmosphere for a few minutes and chill out while you charge!

      Within years, every car in the UK is much cheaper to run/maintain, fully sustainable and carbon zero! Plus, Opec can never again have us over the proverbial barrel!

    • Justin Noe

      It seems to me that we have reached a tipping point. The advent of rice becoming a luxury good for many millions of poor people across Asia shows that sustainability is a real issue. Theses problems will only get worse if we keep fighting over dwindling resources. No real plausible solutions are being considered, only short term economic growth. It’s important in my view that goverment bodies step in and subsidise renewable energy and recycling projects. I like Chris Blount’s vision of the future, it sounds great but this will require substantial investment. The goverment needs to realise that we need to start investing now and invest heavily.

    • Adam

      I agree completely that both Carbon offsets and your ‘Target Offsets’ are so much P.R. rubbish. On the other hand, it seems to me that allowing collaboration between different contries for the purposes of load balancing and effectively using global energy resources is a good idea. For instance, it makes no sense to generate solar power in Britain, when it would be far more resource efficient to generate it in Spain, and build an HVDC cable to allow us to import it from them. I realise that this isn’t at odds with what you’re saying, but it seems important not to left it unsaid.

      What is your objection to “clean coal”? Ultimately, it is indeed feasible and possible to generate all our power from renewable sources, but this goal is unimportant compared to the goal of generating all our energy in a carbon-neutral way. If CO2 can be safely sequestered, then I cannot see any reason not to do it, provided that we are aware that this is a non-renewable resource, and that it must be replaced at some point in the future.

    • Willy Bio

      I dunno. The idea of the first world building renewable generation sites in the third world seems like a very rational long-term approach, regardless of “why” they are doing it.

      Remember, we live on a tiny little rock. What would make more sense: put up a wind or tidal farm to power a relative handful of first world households so they can watch their plasma TVs? Or build the same in the third world to give power to many thousands who have never had reliable power before, so now they can do things like read at night, increase levels of education, keep lifesaving medicines on hand, etc.? Option 1 results in nothing very beneficial to the species. Option 2 results in the very real possibility of those third worlders becoming productive members of the world society, having done so on renewables rather than fossils. Hmmm… could some first worlders actually be afraid of that?

      From a planetwide viewpoint, only option 2 is rational. Option 1 seems more like a John Cleese sketch.

    • MoebiusDick

      I agree with Chris and Dale in their broad vision of the future- however, I cannot help but feel that one fundamental point has been missed- where will the money come from. As long as we are driven by the theory that competition and market forces will produce the goods we will never achieve the change necessary on the scale necessary. Only national governments have the resource, influence and power to achieve such results. Additionally we, the British public, must be willing to put up with tax hikes to reach this zero carbon goal, and I for one am perfectly happy to pay now for a better future. I suspect that a large proportion of the people who read this blog will also be those who believe in continued spending cuts in areas of the state that they do not agree with, like defence- and that this is where the money for the New Industrial Revolution to come from. This cannot be allowed to happen. Already we have soldiers with a lack of equipment and barracks that you would not keep chickens in because of years of defence cuts. Many people will say that the defence budget has actually risen year on year and they would be right, but the cost of military operation has risen by over 3 times the rise in budget, which effectively equals a cut in budget. Anyway, I digress.

      I believe that any schemes revolving around UK power should remain within the UK, only moving overseas to the less economically developed world (LEDC)when we have put our own house, and energy security in order. We must be free of Russian gas, OPEC oil and Canadian and Australian uranium (there are other producers but these make up the lion’s share). We will only achieve this if the policy makers take the decision on the basis of the “greater good” and stop being in politics for the sake of getting re-elected rather than to do what is best for the nation.

      Build the Severn Barrage, build more offshore turbines, make it law for all new build houses to have a percentage of their roof area as PV/Solar heating, utilise our rivers. Keep our population at a static level. There are bound to be some ecological knockon effects from all these activities but I think it’s worth it to achieve the zero carbon society we should be aiming for. Only after we have achieved this should we think about building up the energy infrastructure of LEDCs.

    • Chris Blount

      Dale, that’s exciting news! It’s refreshing to hear of a company that has a better balance of progress and profits in it’s manifesto.

      Will these technologies (the car and also the turbine) be affordable?

      When can I test drive the car?!!