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Thursday, 15 October 2009

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

Written as part of the online blogging action day.
Visit for more details.

One of the aspects of climate change that affects us all, even those who don't believe that climate change is real, is the issue of power & the future generating of power.
We all use power, in one form or another & we are using more all the time. Even though we are switching to low energy light bulbs, or turning down that heating thermostat a nottch, or two. The consumption of power, across the world, is growing. This situation will only get worse as the countries of the so called Third World become more prosperous. Just look at China, which is currently still opening a new coal fired power station every week!

Whilst this may make you feel that whatever we do in the West is futile, it isn't. If you make the effort to fit those low enerfy light bulbs, or turn down the heating, you will actually save yourself some money. What better incentive is there than that?

Having said that, we do need to find new ways of producing our power & for a number of reasons.
- Our commitments to reduce CO2 emmisions in future years.
- The fact that, for a lot of us, our reserves of oil & gas are running out.
- To prevent us being held to ransom by other countries, whose resources we want.
- Our current power stations are nearing the end of their natural lives.
And i'm sure you can think of your own.

So, where will all this power come from? There are obviously a number of options.

- We can expand & replace our nuclear power stations.
This, as we know, has never been a very popular way of generating power. I lived through both the Three Mile Island & Chernobyl incidents & was always very wary of nuclear power. Now, i'm not so sure. The technology has come a long way & those incidents might have actually done us some good & taught us some very valuable lessons.
Although i'm still a little sceptical, i'm coming round to the nuclear power option.

- We can build new coal burning power stations.
We keep being promised a new method of burning coal & one that is more environmentally friendly. I admit, i'm very sceptical about this option.

- Then there are the renewable energy sources. Which are surely the best way to go, if possible.
So far, in the UK at least, nearly all our resources for renewable energy have been poured into wind turbines. Whilst this is a good option, there are problems with wind power, in my opinion.
Although i like the look of the turbines, so many others find them unsightly. especially if they are living next to them? By their very nature they have to be built in prominent places, to catch the wind, which only increases this problem.
They also need the wind to blow...

Other renewable options are often talked about, like wave power etc. But, the one option which is so often overlooked is solar power. Why is this?
I am constantly amazed that solar power is hardly given the time of day when it comes to discussing our future options. Is their some kind of bias against it? And if so, why?
After all, unlike wind power, we don't need the sun to shine to generate power. Daylight will do.
I know that solar power is used more widely in other countries. but, even there, i don't think it's used as much as it could be. I'm happy to be corrected by the way.
What i'd like to see, as a start, is for the UK Government to ensure that all new houses are built with at least an element of solar power generation within them. This would drive down the cost of the technology & maybe even start up a thriving new business in the process & we could certainly do with that at the moment!
Then we can start on older properties. They could also give tax breaks to businesses to introduce solar power into their company buildings.

Yes, i know that some parts of the country/world have less daylight hours than others. But, here is where a mixture of technolgies can be used.

This is not a problem that is going to go away either. But, it is something that the UK Government has shied away from in recent years. Something needs to be done & it needs to be done now.

So, to paraphrase an old anti-nuclear slogan.
Solar power, yes please.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, we have an approach to doing renewables that you might like. Check it out here: We have a monopoly situation in the US, where the utilities are committed to central station size renewables. However, it is possible to get a much lower cost of electricity by using public financing and ownership to build small scale renewables close to the load.