One thing we have learnt this week – will the lights go out?

Autumn the season of mellow fruitfulness, when energy companies raise prices and also the time when people increasingly talk about the lights going out.virburnum on the change_opt Will the lights go out in the near future?

The opening paragraph in our book is not looking so unlikely now.

The modern world is not perfect, but if you were born in a developed country sometime in the last sixty years, it is likely that you have experienced a rising standard of living, with increasing comfort and convenience. Yet we only need to look back a few  generations to see how much has changed, and how much we take for granted. We flick a switch, assuming that electricity will be there to light up the bulb. We expect to be able to travel long distances quickly, in comfort and at reasonable cost. We think nothing of sitting down to a meal whose ingredients have been transported across the globe to our table. These things and many more besides have become basic expectations for most in the developed world – and as Christians living within a modern, developed country we share them. While we may bow our heads and give thanks for God’s  provision at the start of a meal, in most other ways we take the conveniences of modern life for granted.

As the UK does seem to be entering an energy crisis with the UK government looking to China to fund new nuclear power stations and energy prices soaring, the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) has released a report warning that the biggest risk of the lights going out is next winter.  The reasons for this are well rehearsed on this blog.  Coal and oil plants are closing due to an EU directive and gas is too expensive so the the generating companies are reluctant to use it, so are closing them as well.

What to do?  The government is making changes to the electricity market.  The RAE recommend that the government sorts this out as soon as possible.  In addition that it sets a long term minimum carbon price, not just three years ahead, has a discussion with the public about the price of de-carbonisation and has holistic approach to energy strategy.  This latter point emphasises that as we switch to electricity for heat and transport demand for electricity will rise and this need to be taken into account.

I would add we need to encourage energy conservation and micro-generation (neither mentioned in the report).  As a final point readers such as in the USA should not be complacent, it was not so long ago we were energy independent.  Buy our book and find out more.

Neil

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