Thursday, January 05, 2006

Greenpeace: Choose Clean Energy - News

Greenpeace: Choose Clean Energy - News

The UK will shortly become a net importer of gas, as the North Sea fields which have given us over 20 years of self-sufficiency finally run dry. The recent attempt by the Russian Government, Europe's major gas supplier, to hike the price of the gas it supplies to neighbouring Ukraine (the first step on the pipeline route to western Europe) has led to intense media speculation over the security of supplies to the UK - in effect the argument is that since we cannot rely on a stable supply of gas, we should press ahead with a new generation of nuclear power plants which would guarantee energy security. We believe that there is no logic in this argument, and that in fact it amounts to scaremongering by supporters of the pro-nuclear lobby. Over the next decade the bulk of these gas imports will be from Norway and the Netherlands, not from Russia. Only around 30% of gas supplies are curently used for electricity generation, so nuclear power is a poor solution to the security of supply problem - if indeed it is a problem. If Tony Blair and the Government are really serious about improving the security of our energy supply, the best way to do that would be to improve energy efficiency in buildings, homes and factories. The Government should also be promoting the rapid uptake of decentralised energy - using energy where it is produced eliminates much of the waste produced by our outmoded and antiquated energy system. Decentralised energy systems - including "microgeneration" - generate electricity as well as heat, using less energy than the today's standard heating boilers. [1] So not only would gas be saved at the point of use in households, but electricity equivalent to around half of the UK's nuclear capacity could also be generated.[2] And all this at the same time as halving UK CO2 emissions from the electricity sector within a few decades, and reducing overall emissions from the UK by 15%. Read the Greenpeace report 'Decentralising Power: an energy revolution for the 21st century'. Download the summary as a PDF file. Download the full report (5Mb, 74 pages). For more information about the future of home-based or small-scale energy generation, visit the web site of the Micropower Council.


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