Can the UK be self-sufficient in energy?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Schleswig-Holstein, Oct 23, 2008.

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  1. One for the energy strategists/people who either love or hate windfarms etc...

    A Prof. of Physics from Cambridge has published a free online book discussing sustainable Energy.

    Its big, but a decent (objective) look at our options as a country regarding energy production/use. It includes an analysis of the actual costs of changing our behaviour, and comparisons of the costs/gains associated with different strategies at a national level.

    It makes interesting reading for those interested in actually making the country self-reliant in terms of energy (and therefore not being reliant on Ivan).

    Nuclear energy gets a pretty good look in too...

  2. In answer to your question, of course it can. It just needs a Government willing to dedicate some time and money to it.

    Anyway, being a spotter on these matters (just finished a course on it!) I found the James May Big Ideas programme really good. Its no longer available on the BBC iplayer but it is on Utube, just search for James Mays' Big Ideas.

  3. If the last conservative government hadn't sold off OUR gas electric telecomms etc (used to belong to the whole country) so that a few people could make a lot of money, then we would probably be somewhere near self sufficient and paying a lot less for our energy....

  4. msr

    msr LE

    How? Do you honestly believe the public sector is more efficient than the private sector?

  5. Sitting as I am on the West coast, having had gusts of wind up to 119MPH this afternoon and a sea swell of several meters I feel that we could get much more energy from these renewable s. Weather of this intensity will be with us pretty well until March on the West of Scotland and it is an untapped resource.

    Putting wind generated electricity straight into the grid is, in my opinion not the best way to utilise this surplus. Would it not be more sensible to use the 'free' but erratic wind energy to make hydrogen which could then be used to power smaller electricity generating stations as and when the demand was there?

    You would of course have to give the various tree hugging groups and the RSPB a good slapping first though.
  6. Well, the recent blinding performance by the private sector doesn't exactly leave me full of confidence in their ability to save us money...
  7. Read the online book - the additional costs (steel/concrete etc) associated with these renewables pump up the costs... I'm a mild tree-huger by the way :wink:
  8. msr

    msr LE

    British Leyland?

  9. MSR, The principle supposedly underpinning privatisation of the utilities (competition means driving down prices for the consumer) has proven to be false. Clearly , privitisation does not neccessarily mean better service for the consumer.

    Also in the long term interests of the nation and in a worst case scenario, the state now has no real control over crucial utilities in times of a national emergency...... what if the needs of the nation contradict the wishes of the private companies...think they would want to forgoe their profits and act in the interests of the country.....? i dont think so.

  10. I accept that the initial costing of any power station is high. It has more to do with just how much we are willing to pay because sooner or later we will have to face the way we use power.
    The tree hugging jab relates to the fact that out here it is very difficult to get anything done without objections from self appointed environmental experts from afar who never take local knowledge on board. Case in point is the way the rspb (a charity) obstruct planning in the name of protecting a species: in this case the corncrake.
  11. private sector fine if comes to cars what you want to eat etc etc.

    when fecking up can take the rest of the state with it banking,infrastructure not so sure
    some inefficacy read redundancy probably a good idea :roll:
    prefer a mixed economy some state support regulation so all the cash does'nt disappear in a pyramid scheme and the lights stay on.

    this gov and politicons in general Dave's no better believe the market can solve all our problems it can't. does'nt mean it shouldn't be used but it needs watching and before every is placed in the private sector somebody should think what happens if it goes to shit.

    energy self sufficency would mean the gov actually spending tax money on stuff rather than consultants so that means making a decsion not going to happen :x
  12. Sounds good. I'm interested in how switching to nuclear would help us be self-sufficient, though. We'll have to get the fuel from somewhere, we don't have much fissile material in the UK.

    As a stepping stone to self-sufficiency it'll help break our dependency on fossil fuels, sure. But insofar as we'll still need to buy our fuel abroad, it'll be like swapping heroin addiction for methadone addiction. To be truly independent we'd need to find some energy source native to the UK and to my mind that's either coal or renewables.
  13. I certainly think so when it comes to this type of industry. Energy is important and should be owned nationaly IMO. Essentials should not be run just to maximise profit over a 12 month period to secure a bonus. Rather we should be running them with consumer service in mind and with long term strategies that puts service over profit.
  14. These are questions he asks in the book... (honest, I'm not on commission!)

    Turns out that a mixed approach is the best.
  15. We certainly used to be self sufficient, prior to Nuclear stations opening in the 50's, but we had coal in those days. Privatisation was one thing, but the deliberate closure of the pits was entirely another. Politics aside and without getting into the union argument and price per tonne, the pits should have been put into preservation, as we are unlikely to be able to survive without them now.

    Wind is great on windy days, but there are several tens of days where no wind is available and unfortunately this happens also to occur in winter when demand is highest. Wavepower is too much in infancy to be regarded as a solution.

    Im afraid its nuclear and possibly coal that will hold this country's power futures.