All entries for Friday 26 May 2006

May 26, 2006

So what do the public think?

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5016136.stm

So, the results of the BBC "Electricity Calculator" are out. The idea was to put it to the public how they'd like to see their electricity generated by 2020. The conclusion was as follows:

*Reduce fossil fuels to 21% share (currently approx. 80%)

*Increase nuclear power to 28% share (currently approx. 17%)

*Increase renewables to 36% share (currently approx. 3%)

*Leave imports largely alone at approx 4% share

*Reduce demand by 10% by increasing insulation, installing more efficient appliances etc

So, what can we tell from this? Firstly, that the public appear to be not as anti–nuclear as we are often portrayed (read any "have your say" at the beeb and you find about 10 anti–nuclear for every 1 nuclear comment). Secondly, that the public appear to have massive support for renewables (68% supporting expansion), which would definitely be extremely tricky to integrate at this level of market share (apparently more than 60% of people wouldn't mind having a wind farm within 5km of their home, although I'm skeptical of this figure). Also, 54% of the public would be happy with new nuclear stations if it helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And lastly, that people appear to be very majorly concerned by CO2 emissions and fossil fuel depletion. Interesting stuff.

Personally, I can see nuclear expanding to this kind of market share, but I'll bet a lot of money on renewables not exceeding 15%, unless they build the 7.6GW tidal barrier accross the Severn, which would alone generate around 4% of the UK's energy. I reckon we'll see a move toward coal sequestration to take up the load, thus keeping fossil fuels at a larger percentage mix for longer without contributing to CO2 emissions. Reduced renewable growth to this end is not a cause for concern.


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