The Sage Debate on Future Energy Sources
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
Leaders of the Energy industry gathered at Sage Gateshead to try and decide on the future of energy in the UK and everything was up for debate from the potential threat of blackouts to talks about the price of energy. It was a veritable who’s who of both renewable and traditional forms of energy generation and those responsible for energy distribution, as well as various independent sources. The breakfast meeting was hosted by Watson Burton, a law company and was attended by chambers of commerce and industry leaders.
Opening spot went to CNG gas supply with the crux of the discussion being that the UK had long known that difficult times lay ahead. It was said that nuclear and gas as well as renewable forms of energy all had a place in the energy arena but that closing down of coal burning facilities before new infrastructure is in place to replace them was not the right approach to be followed. Martin Needham stressed the need for coal burning facilities until significant infrastructure has been built. He also said that nowhere in Europe was there a situation like the one in the UK.
Following on was North East energy and the Banks Group with a combined call for a balanced mix of energy, which had been getting media attention of late and so was of import to the public. As far as policy goes, yet again it was suggested that existing facilities be used until new ones had been built.
Narec’s Andrew Mill laid emphasis on energy security being the most important of Governments concerns with prices of energy and environmental issues also getting highlighted. He said that things were not at a stage where blackouts are imminent but that in general the entire system is at a crisis point. Siemens would appear to have the same sentiments. Siemens representative Colin Henry said that a broad mix of energy sources is needed and that a bit of uncertainty is a good thing. He said that both the bigger global picture of climate change needs to be addressed as well as job creation in the energy market.
Miller Argent spokesperson James Poyner said that abandoning fossil fuels as a source of energy generation is foolhardy. He believes that coal has an important role to play in the production of energy, and admitted his sentiment that successive governments had not managed to get the balance right. All round not much new was said.
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