There is no chance of successfully delivering any of the UK’s energy strategy for the next 20 years or so unless the organisations involved engage in effective collaboration. That was the message of energy experts at the Energy conference held in the grounds of the iconic Battersea Power Station on 30th November.
Steve Wildman, of Siemens, revealed that, with a projected increase in world population of 1.1bn to 7.5bn by 2020, power consumption is rising by 5.2 per cent a year in the world’s emerging regions and by 1.4 per cent a year in the developed world. Wildman explained: “The world’s population is increasing; we’re all living longer; we’re worried about greenhouse gases and increasing temperatures and, between 2008 and 2030 we’re expecting to see a 50 per cent increase – at a rate of some 2.3 per cent per year – in the demand for energy.
“In the UK, as old energy generating plants retire, we’re expecting to see a sizeable gap between the demand for, and supply of, energy,” he added. “The Government has a key role to play in setting the policy to ensure an adequate supply of cheap energy, along with guaranteeing security of supply and ensuring that the energy is produced in a ‘green’, sustainable way. Of course, there’s no single – or easy – solution. However, we need to be more efficient at producing our energy because, at present, our energy output is only around 40 per cent of the amount of energy it takes to produce it.”
Peter Jones OBE, a consultant to the energy industry, discussed the major technology and business issues around turning waste into energy and, by so doing, reduce the amount of landfill and add another dimension to satisfying our energy needs. He identified three key elements of energy policy implementation: economics, technology and attitude. He concluded that: “No one company in the UK understands all of the issues involved in developing, implementing and achieving a successful energy strategy. So we need collaboration between those that have the technology and those that have the money.”
Comment: There are some big issues and big numbers being discussed as a matter of some urgency by the energy industry at the moment – as is only right and proper. It is to be hoped that vested interests and entrenched political positions don’t prevent the emergence of a more sane energy policy. Otherwise we could find ourselves by-passed in terms of efficient and ‘green’ energy production by the likes of India and China before we even have a chance of attempting to emulate our far ‘cleaner’ European brethren, such as Germany and Austria in terms of energy production.