Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Is going back to this really the way forward?

I grew up in the 1960's - a time of almost unbounded optimism for the future.

From science fiction to science fact the future in those days was seen to be a place where mans ingenuity would solve all our problems.

Running out of oil? No problem, we can all drive nuclear powered cars.

Running out of Planet? No problem, we can colonise Mars.

But we have grown up to the realities we face since then. For every scientific advance there is often a side-effect and mankind has had to learn to evaluate whether the gain is always worth the pain.

Which brings me to the Prime Ministers admission that Nuclear Power is 'back on the agenda' as a solution to our growing energy gap. This is worrying because it means that we are admitting a failure to find a better solution.

There is no doubt in my mind that we need a radical re-think about our use of energy and I have always believed in the power of individuals and local communities to achieve much more than grand Government initiatives.

Rather than think big over power generation, why not think small? Before we rush out and invest hundreds of billions in new power stations that may contaminate the planet for centuries why not look at ways to reduce our usage of power and encourage millions of homeowners to generate just a little power of their own?

And new technology promises to help. New ways of micro generation such as photo-voltaic roof tiles added to ever more efficient building materials and electrical equipment can, if applied across millions of homes, close the gap without recourse to a 1950's Dan-Dare technology that has proven to have side effects too terrible to risk.

The shame is that it increasingly looks like we aren't going to to give the 'small is best' option a chance.

3 comments:

Glowing-in-the-dark-already said...

Going back to nuclear power is definitely NOT the way forward.

Blair isn't going to listen though.

Ellee Seymour said...

France gets 80% of its electricity from nuclear power. That level will never be acceptable in this country, like incinerators. They are both scare words for the general public.

Renewables could provide a major source of our renewables, but it will also be costly, take many years to educate the public and is going down the Greenpeace route. They have said the Tories are more green than Labour, I have written about this several times.

We need to embrace biofuels too, there is so much we can do. We need to get on and do it, not just talk about it.

Barrie Wood said...

And they also say the Lib Dems are the most 'green' of the three parties !