Friday, 8 February 2008

The Energy Debate

Swansea councillor Ioan Richard wrote a letter to the South Wales Evening Post on this subject, but has not seen it published so far. (I know the feeling.) It is clearly more informed than the usual Punch-and-Judy about wind-farms, so it deserves a platform:

An exclusive letter for “POST”:-


The Energy Debate is heating up again in the letters page of the “Evening Post”.

Anyone who takes part should firstly comprehend the truly vast consumption of Energy this United Kingdom consumes. Seemingly many Politicians cannot grasp this concept! Are they mostly innumerate?

In fairness, probably none of us can grasp the concept of the huge numbers in this issue of many billions of Kilowatts. The basic fact is that this country needs reliable bulk power energy sources that are as clean and sustainable as possible. All this airy fairy talk of Solar Power; Bio Fuels; Wind Power and Wave Power (note “Wave” power is not tidal – wave power is wind dependent – ask any surfer – whereas tidal is moon gravity dependent), is all an expensive time wasting distraction and utter nonsense to our vast energy needs. Bulk reliable energy can only be got from the Fossil Fuel sources of Coal; Oil or Gas; and from Nuclear and Tidal and in some countries only from Hydro. We have to make serious decisions as to which of these, or what form of combinations of these, we are to use, in order to survive as not only an environment, but also as an economic nation. Fossil Fuels are not only Carbon emitters, but are being rapidly depleted except for huge reserves of Coal. We also have to wake up and snatch this debate back from the present control of ignorant innumerate pseudo “Green” control freak fundamentalist politicians like those in the Green Party; Friends of the Earth; Greenpeace and the Al Gores of this world. Sadly a lot of opportunity was lost over the Severn Barrage when perhaps the Second Severn Crossing Bridge could have been a road on a barrage dam. They have such roads in Holland. Probably the most secure and sustainable future bulk energy production in the UK will have to come from a combination of Clean Coal and Tidal and Nuclear. Possibly with some Gas to ramp up and down the Grid, when the Tidal is at its regularly timed (four times daily) lower output level.

There’s been far too much scaremongering about Nuclear – our next door neighbour France is full of modern Nuclear Power Stations, several are closer to London than Swansea is to London – so if a French reactor blows up, then we go up with it!

I am quite favourable to a Severn barrage – which will allow the water to go up and down to power the generators – unlike the stagnant waters in the Cardiff Bay Barrage! Don’t confuse a stagnant barrage like Cardiff Bay with a cleaner tidally active barrage. I’d like to know more about a Severn Barrage from genuine Scientists and not from the whines of amateur innumerate “Greenies” or Wind Turbine developers who only want to reap the massive public subsidies available for pitifully small erratic outputs.

Yours, Ioan M. Richard.


Frank H Little said...

Why has no tidal lagoon scheme even reached the planning stage yet? It seems to me that not enough people are prepared to take a chance these days, unlike our great Victorian engineering and entrepreneurial forebears.

Frank H Little said...

I am with Ioan on nuclear power, even though the official party line is to have nothing to do with it at any price.

On Veronica Watkins' recommendation in a conference speech two years ago, I downloaded the report of the Sustainable Development Commission. However, my trust in its conclusions was dented when it ruled out discussion of Candu designs because of the length of time it would take to license them in this country. This is the most successful design world-wide and has not, to my knowledge, suffered a major breakdown or safety scare anywhere.

As to terrorism, we have operated nuclear power plants in this country for over fifty years and there has not been a terrorist incident yet.

For me, it comes down to cost. If a generating company deems a nuclear power station viable without subsidy, then let us accept it as part of the mix. Of course, the total cost, including that of storage of spent materials and of nuclear security, should be borne by the company.

I am under no illusions that power from nuclear fission is sustainable in the long run. Uranium will run out eventually, just as fossil fuels will do. However, it could give us continuous power without polluting the atmosphere while the technology of more sustainable sources develops.

Frank H Little said...

Now there is a warning about the barrage based on practical experience in Canada: