Mon 12 May 2014 5:52PM


M Matilda Public Seen by 137

In this area we’ll be discussing what policies you believe in for energy, environment and climate change in the UK. You can propose any policy you see fit and people can discuss it here.


Pete Smith Tue 13 May 2014 2:50PM

it should be called 'commit to closing the energy gap'


Matilda Tue 13 May 2014 2:59PM

How would you go about doing this?


Marianne Farrar-Hockley Tue 13 May 2014 5:45PM

Climate change is real and alarming and we must participate in every possible way to fighting against it. We like wind farms very much, and wish to expand most renewables, coupled with energy-saving innovation and consumption awareness among the public and industry.

We reluctantly accept that nuclear, which is also carbon-neutral, will be around for a bit but we are throwing our main R&D funding at renewables.


Pete Smith Tue 13 May 2014 10:03PM

I'm strongly in favour of investment in renewable generation and energy efficiency, perhaps as a separate proposal?

Some background to this: despite, given the long-term nature of planning in the industry, having known that new power stations or upgrades to existing ones would need to break ground in the first and second decades of the 21st century, fifty years after the last major building programme, five parliaments have sat on their hands as existing 'base load' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_load_power_plant) power stations got older; the life extension programme for existing nuclear stations has not helped us to preserve the technical capacity for building them.

Nuclear power supplies roughly one fifth of the UK's electrical demand, and four-fifths of our nuclear capacity is scheduled to be retired in the next fifteen to twenty years.

Political indecision caused only a single unit of the last tranche to be built - Sizewell B - leading to huge inefficiencies and cost overruns because everything to do with it was unique.

To meet our electrical generation needs, now and into the future, we could invest in two programmes;

  • a replacement programme for our nuclear generation stock, new reactors to be in public ownership as large national assets and similar national interest waivers to planning process available as for wind turbines

  • several state-owned nuclear engineering works to be founded, associated with university clusters in the South West/South Wales, North of England and Scotland, in order that in the 2020s the new reactors are British rather than Chinese.


Matilda Wed 14 May 2014 7:42PM

Pete, your suggestions sound very sensible to me. As an additional, why do you think the program to give loans to improve the energy efficiency of their homes fell flat?


Hegemony Jones Wed 14 May 2014 8:24PM

Have invited my environmental scientist brother to join, I'm sure he can be of some use.


Pete Smith Wed 14 May 2014 10:11PM

@matilda Programmes based on mass access to credit schemes bottleneck on their media budget, or get oversubscribed; they compete for people's attention with (in this case) better-funded campaigns from the energy industries.

Giving financial aid directly to the businesses that carry out the work, rather than to their customers, could sharpen the focus of a programme's media strategy and decrease other administrative overhead.


Pete Smith Thu 15 May 2014 6:50PM

I share that lack of conviction on clean coal. Plain old dirty coal plus a battery of counsel to hold up any decision from the Hague for a decade or two is the least technically challenging and expensive solution to meeting demand. An awful solution but better than the prices that a supply gap will produce, crippling industry and increasing fuel poverty.


Pete Smith Fri 16 May 2014 9:05AM

The proposal is specifically to do with meeting a gap between 'base-load' (continuous) electrical supply and demand (see the policy documents linked in the proposal).