Sunday 31 July 2016

Abandon Hinkley Point C

Hurray for Mrs May in deciding to pause Hinkley Point C.  Now let's hope that her government will go the whole hog and abandon this misguided project  altogether.

I have no expertise on the technicalities, but am content to believe those I trust - Caroline Lucas, George Monbiot and many others - who say that it is outdated, uncertain, and outrageously expensive.  It also seems to me that to put 7% of our electricity supply into one basket will make it a very tempting target for a terrorist attack.

The nuclear lobby  make great play of the mantra that we can't rely on renewable but must have a back-up supply " when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow."  Well, maybe. But we live on on island where the tides come in and out, in and out, twice a day, every day without fail (and four times a day in the Solent, if the Percy F Westerman sea cadet novels of my youth are to be believed.)  So why aren't we international experts on tidal power?  I suppose  there'll be a problem of getting sand in the works, but  that surely in not insurmountable.

I find it extremely sad that the relevant trade unions are in favour of the this nuclear white elephant because it will provide jobs (just as other unions are in favour of Trident becasue that will provide jobs)  That really is scraping the barrel.

By a happy coincidence on the very weekend  when we are applauding the rethink about the project the Guardian has published its review of a book by  Chris Goodall:  "The Switch:  How Solar, Storage and New Tech Means Cheap Power for All."  The theme appears to be that reliance on renewable energy sources is not some misty-eyed vision for the future: they are here and ready and poised to take over.  The review points out that on the 15th May this year Germany (who are closing or have already closed  all their nuclear power stations) received almost all its electricity from renewables; Portugal (where the sun shines rather more than in either Germany or the UK, ) managed it for four whole days from 7th to 10th May.

The future lies in renewables; methods of storing electricity or converting it into energy which can be stored; and an international grid to transfer electricity from where  nature provides it in abundance to those areas where the elements are less reliable.

 Simon Jenkins pointed out only a week ago that   Cameron and Osborne's mistaken enthusiasm for Hinkley Point was very much the result of corporate lobbying. Those lobbyists will already be amassing to stave off any abandonment of their very lucrative (to them) project.

Let's hope Mrs May will stand up to them and instead listen to reason.

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