UK ENERGY SYSTEM COULD SUFFER SAME FATE AS BANKS, EXPERTS WARN

Independent energy experts also set to announce how an entirely renewable electricity supply for Europe is possible and affordable

Representatives of an independent group of over 250 international energy and financial experts are meeting this week to reveal how the UK, Europe and other continents can run on renewable electricity for a similar price to that currently paid for fossil-based electricity. The Claverton Energy Research Group is also warning on the eve of its conference, which runs in Bath from 24-26 Oct, that current world governments’ energy policies are inadequate to meet growing global energy demands, and says serious action needs to be taken now before fossil fuels become in increasingly short supply, arguing the recent oil price spike is merely a foretaste of what could happen in the not too distant future. The group also says that as the North Sea gas and oil output declines and being at the extremity of the gas supply system places the UK particularly at risk and warns there could be energy shortages by as early as 2015 if the current situation continues and planning is neglected. The group says that if the energy infrastructure is left to develop in response to market forces, which is the government’s preferred strategy, it will create a similar crisis to that unfolding in the banking sector.

Conference spokesperson, Dave Andrews, whose 1983 book, IRG Solution, predicted the coming environmental and fuel catastrophe and detailed a method for a coordinated effort from experts to develop workable policies, says: “We have seen recently what a lightly regulated market without proper, well thought-out policies has done for banking and finance, and our evidence indicates the UK energy supply infrastructure, if left to regulate itself, is heading towards a similar crunch.”

As an example, Andrews cites Denmark, where experts working with Danish government decide energy policy, and 90% of the heat created in the process of making electricity in Denmark is used to heat homes and buildings. It is an extremely efficient process with little waste. In the UK, on the other hand, when energy companies make electricity they are allowed to waste the by-product heat in cooling towers (the amount of heat wasted annually in this process is similar to the amount of energy taken out of the North Sea each year) and then energy companies benefit by selling more fossil fuels to consumers to heat their houses, leading to unnecessary fuel imports and rapid depletion of the North Sea. Thus the UK has to use more fossil fuel than Denmark, imposing unnecessary costs on consumers. This type of mishandling of resources by market forces is wrong for the UK consumer and wrong for the environment.  

Thirty-eight speakers at the conference will be addressing energy issues for homes, businesses and transport, and will include detailed analysis of nuclear, fossil fuels and sustainable renewable energies and technologies, and how they can fit into an overall sustainable system. This includes plans for how the UK could fuel a quarter of its transport system on biogas from food and animal waste (presently wasted in landfill where it will emit greenhouse gasses) and the implications of the EU’s 20/20/20 Directive.

Andrews concludes: “Our discussions have shown that the world can run itself entirely on renewable sources and we will show how at the conference. However, a concerted start must be made now on understanding the issues and developing clear policies and taking timely action.”   

A Selection of Speakers and Their Topics:

Dr Gregor Czisch – Kassel University, Germany: Has written various papers on linking electricity grids across countries to enable the continuous generation of renewable power. He will outline how Europe can achieve a power system based entirely on renewable energy.

Dr Graham Sinden – Oxford Environmental Change Institute: The implications of the EU’s 20/20/20 directive on renewable electricity generation requirements in the UK, and the potential role of offshore wind power in this context. Graham Sinden has published a number of papers looking at the effects of integrating variable/intermittent energy generation into the energy generation mix and is an advisor to governments.

Oliver Tickell – Author, journalist and climate change specialist:  A paper on Kyoto2 as an exit strategy for fossil fuels. Son of Sir Crispin Tickell, ex Chief Scientist.

Professor Lewis Lesley – John Moore’s University: “Sustainable light rail” – how there is enough potential biogas in the UK to run our entire public transport system within cities.

David Olivier – Energy Advisory Associates: Energy efficiency and conservation in new buildings – a look at what is being achieved in other European countries. How UK housing can dramatically cut the heating bills and fossil fuel imports for consumers.

– Ends – 

Notes to Editors:

Contact details:

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