Water, water, everywhere – but not a drop to drink.
Like the ancient mariner, I was at sea today (well, close to the sea in Aberdeen). The renewable energy sector is not short of data – wind speeds, wind directions, MW of electricity or percentage capacity. Trying to make sense of all this data, and of all the competing technologies that make up the energy sector, however, is something else entirely; a visit to All Energy ’09 today left me with my head spinning.
Wind farms, onshore and offshore, hydro schemes, sub-sea projects – all show enormous potential for helping us reach our 15% EU mandated target for renewable energy, but not all are getting funded for one reason or another. Often the reason is competing stakeholder interests. Quite rightly the environmental lobby is vocal, well organised and effective in the go/no go decision for renewable schemes.
Of course, there is no “right” answer – our energy needs are substantial and ongoing and no one solution appears to have all the answers. So whilst government continue to hold consultation after consultation, the UK is showing little sign of having a coherent renewable energy plan. Meanwhile newly created government departments pop up to add to the rhetoric. Added to which the official line on the climate change debate appears to be an open and shut case, which I’m far from convinced about.
This is a fast growing and dynamic sector with a great deal of activity. The map of the UK appears to have developed a nasty rash when the current wind farms are plotted onto it. Is this the best way of navigating our way out of the fossil fuel and carbon emissions crisis? We will see. Or perhaps the data will.