Opinion: We need a more Resilient Energy source

Resilience is a much abused word. What does it really mean? It is best described as the “capacity of a system to resist external shocks”. So what shocks are out there waiting to pounce on us? The usual suspects are flooding, cold snowy winters, and financial turmoil causing recession, fuel price hikes and pandemics. We have had a taste of these over the last few years. Swine Flu, petrol price hikes, snowy winter months and flooding have all shocked the town to a degree that upset our relatively peaceful existence. So what is the biggest shock of all that we are totally unprepared for? This is a shock that could completely derail our lives. This is a shock that council and government have little current power to mitigate. This is a shock that could start in places thousands of miles from us and quickly bring our society to a stand still. It is simply Oil Shock. This shock occurs when fuel prices rapidly increase to a point where our delicate economy can no longer cope. Almost everything we need depends on this substance. Today it is clear to see that we have little resilience to the Geopolitical problems of the Middle East. Oil rich countries with cruel dictatorships or unstable political systems heavily influence the price of the very liquid that we desperately need for food, heating and transport. What a crazy situation. How on earth did we get into such a ridiculous situation? More importantly, how do we find a way out?

The obvious answer is to urgently assess ways in which we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. What could our local communities do to increase its resilience to “Energy shocks”? The obvious primary thing to do is to use this precious non-renewable resource as efficiently as we can and as little as possible. Investment in public transport and home insulation are well known strategies that need urgent investment. We should also purchase our energy from companies who are investing in clean forms of energy. There probably a renewable energy company in your area currently working on a scheme to create jobs, provide clean energy to power your home and inject much needed cash into the local economy. Find them and encourage them to bring some of the following benefits to your community:

  • Provide much needed local construction jobs
  • Provide extra income for local farmers by paying them for the privilege of using low grade land to site their solar panels or turbines.
  • Make a major contribution to the urgent need to reduce our dependence on oil and gas.
  • Invest in community energy schemes that would bring much needed rural investment while making these vulnerable communities more resilient.
  • Make significant reductions to our carbon footprint.
  • And finally the important issue of helping to reduce the impact of pollution of our climate.

I welcome clean energy investors into our community. Lobby your local councillors and MPs to recognize the urgency and importance of supporting these businesses. Insist that clean energy projects included in your new “Neighbourhood Plan”. Demand that your council urgently investigates ways to help finance local schemes, to use the schemes to cut the council’s emissions to make a more resilient community and to kick start a new industry that will provide much needed jobs for the local economy.

We need reliable and secure sources of energy so that the UK can be energy self-sufficient. We need to lower our carbon emissions to meet our climate change targets and we can do this with investment and community ownership of the renewable energy we generate and use.

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3 Comments

  • >There probably a renewable energy company in your area currently working on a scheme to create jobs, provide clean energy to power your home and inject much needed cash into the local economy.
    Find them and encourage them…

    I’m not sure it’s the companies that need encouraging!
    Every time someone proposes wind turbines anywhere, the local community start protest groups against them.
    The public are all in favour of renewable energy – as long it’s done somewhere else!

  • What does it really mean? It is best described as the “capacity of a system to resist external shocks”

    That suggests a need for any energy source the production of which requires short lead times, so production can be rapidly cranked up in an emergency.

    Shale gas, for example: http://www.nohotair.co.uk/

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