US social scientist Kenneth Boulding : ‘If you believe exponential growth can go on in a finite world, you are either a madman or an economist’.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Will power cuts prompt change?

No postings for a while (will do some 'back numbers') as caught up in three days of serious electrical power cuts in south east London :

Had only 6 hours of juice per 24 hours, and couldn't get an internet connection.

Shops, banks and Post offices have shut, even if they had saleable goods, because of a reliance on various electrical appliances.

Apart from a general over-dependence on power-driven kit, one of the lessons from all this ought to be that there needs to be not just a major shift to renewables, but also an emphasis on decentralised production and distribution networks - including, of course, serious investment in solar water heating and photovoltaics on residential and business premises.

On the plus side, the near-daily whine of power tools round here ground to a halt (no sign that any of the work that goes on involves insulation, fitment of solar panels or digging up concreted-over gardens anyway ....), but on the down side, every time the power came on or went off there was a cacophany of burglar alarms, some so ridiculously and anti-socially loud they must have been audible half way across the Borough.

Anyhow, we're signed up to an 80% CO2 cut (90% is probably needed) and what we've just had is 3 days of a 75% cut just in the electricity component of our largely fossil fuel driven energy mix. And major problems ensue. What if this had happened in winter?

The 'major' parties in Westminster can be relied upon to fiddle while the planet burns and people live in fuel poverty. See this for what a handful of Councillors of the right political persuasion can get done:

Yes, Huddersfield (West Yorkshire), free insulation and solar power capital of the UK.

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