Following John Hutton's nuclear statement last week to the House of Commons, The Renewable Energy Centre.co.uk released a statement responding to points raised in the report.
In a bid to view the wider implications of Hutton's statement, The Renewable Energy Centre today said there were three main factors to consider when looking at why nuclear power has taken central stage in the government's energy policy.
Firstly, that the threat of a significant reduction in energy supplies from importers is real. With rapidly disintegrating relations between Russia and the UK over the British Council and the ongoing diminishing global supply chain, the possibility of the UK not being able to source various forms of energy could become a reality. The need for the UK to be able to generate and sustain its own energy demands could become critical. Nuclear power could play a large part in achieving this independence compounded by the need to meet national emissions targets. Hutton stated; "Over the course of the next two decades we will need to replace a third of the UK's generating capacity; and by 2050 our electricity will need to be largely low carbon. And so we need to be clear about the potential role of nuclear power."
Hutton's basis for the promotion of a nuclear programme has been cited by Sir Jonathan Porritt, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) as political manoeuvre "Pulling a technological megafix, like nuclear power, out of the hat is easier from a political point of view but it misses the essence of climate change which is transforming people's lives."
The Renewable Energy Centre.co.uk stated that it believes both ideologies are true, with time and targets running out for the government, immediate focus should to be given to large scale projects in order to build self sufficiency into the UK's energy infrastructure. This lead to The Renewable Energy Centre's second point, that at the same time, the government also should continue to promote energy saving and efficiency to individuals and businesses.
In order to ensure longevity in terms of energy supply, the UK population itself needs to reduce its current demands for energy to in order help reduce carbon emissions. The Renewable Energy Centre accepted that changing people's habits and mind set was the toughest challenge for the government but critically important to the future of the country.
Thirdly, The Renewable Energy Centre stated that it was also critical for the government to fully support the smaller technologies currently in development and available in the renewables market. This, it said would help build a solid foundation for energy supply to the UK backed by the larger projects once they are implemented in the longer term.
The Renewable Energy Centre.co.uk stated that in order to reduce carbon emissions the government should also focus on reducing demand not increasing supply. If the UK public start implementing energy saving changes in the home and reduce the demand for energy this would have an immediate and significant impact.
In order to achieve this The Renewable Energy Centre highlighted the need for the government to implement legislation or tax incentives to encourage the population to adopt renewable technologies in the home. Richard Simmons Managing Director said "The time for the "hearts and minds campaign" is over; in order to begin to impact climate change the public either needs incentives or legislation. Time is running out and a firm and clear government policy is the only way renewable energy can be pushed forward at the individual level."
He continued "It is very depressing that we have arrived at this point; rapid decisions need to be made on all fronts. Nuclear power can become a huge resource for the demands of electricity in the UK and is relatively plant safe and predictable. Even a nuclear "megafix" only addresses the electricity supply issue. Given that the predominant choice of heating in the UK is gas it seems this latter area is where the individual contribution needs to come from by installing solar panel or ground source heating systems."
The Renewable Energy Centre stated it was expecting further backlash to the Hutton statement but reiterated its commitment to promoting renewable energy solutions to individuals and businesses throughout the UK to help in the fight against climate change.
Notes for Editors
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