Roo-newable energy

With the sun shining, the world’s biggest sporting event about to kick-off and the hopes and aspirations of many of The Engineer’s UK readers resting on the status of a Liverpudlian’s foot bone, it’s easy to lose track of the really important issues.



But come July 10th, when English football fans will either be basking in the warm glow of victory or reflecting on another doomed campaign, a sense of reality will return as we get ready to peruse the findings of the government’s hotly anticipated energy review – the statement on energy policy that could shape our energy mix, and the world we live in, for many more years than Wayne Rooney’s metatarsal.



Following the Prime Ministers’ comments last month regarding the development of more nuclear power stations, there are fears in some quarters that renewable energy – which holds so much promise for our burgeoning energy needs – may be left high and dry.



After all, ask some, what’s the point in the incremental contributions made by a wind farm here and a solar panel there when a few new nuclear power stations can meet all our energy needs and more?



But while there’s a widely held view that renewable energy can only ever gradually chip away at our reliance on fossil fuels there are some in the renewables industry who believe that with government backing, large-scale, environmentally sustainable power generation schemes could make just as big a contribution to our energy mix as any nuclear power station.



A good example of this is the proposed Severn Tidal Barrage – a huge 10 mile long dam across the Severn Estuary, that could, its backers claim, harness the natural power of the tide to generate 5 per cent of the UK’s annual electricity needs. It’s a bold scheme, and not without its detractors, but it should probably be given serious consideration. Watch this space.



Jon Excell



Features Editor


The Engineer