We are a nation of addicts. We all have an addiction, and like most addicts we do not seem to care for the supplier.
It is the addiction of energy, or power. There are now more people living in urban areas than were alive in the whole world in the year of my birth 1975. According to UK government research we use 27307kg equivalent of oil a day to keep our country running. The news at the moment is about our big 6 energy suppliers and costs going up. They are blaming it on the governments demand for more green energy, and for once I think the government is right to push this form of energy.
We do not have the right climate for solar energy to help us out all the time, but we do have wind, we are a small island at the meeting point of five major weather systems and this creates wind. From my own small town I can see two small wind farms. These many say are a blot on the landscape and ruin our countryside. And yes I will agree with them, however I wonder if any of these campaigners have talked to anyone in Hinkley Point recently? The site of Britain’s newest Nuclear power plant.
After talking with some about this, their answer was we need to insulate our homes. But this is not going to make any real dent in our power usage. I live in a 1820’s three story house. How can we insulate? We can’t put in cavity wall insulation, our loft already has 18 inches of insulation. But we are only just scratching the surface of our energy use with heating. As a child my parent’s house had an electric cooker, hoover and washing machine kettle toaster and a radio. Look around us now and see how much stuff we have now that is plugged in. In our house we have;
Two coffee machines
2x Dvd player
3x Game consoles
Plus there are all the items you need to charge, Mobile phones, cordless phones, Lap-tops computers, Tablets.
And around 20 light bulbs.
I’m sure the list can keep on going and going.
We are a nation of technology users, and it is this technology that is using our power, lets also not forget the fact that there are now 70 million people in the UK now compared to 56 million in 1975. That’s an increase, of 2x the population of Inner London, all using more and more energy.
Its not only our domestic energy that we are using. It is estimated that we use 30 billion food kilometres in the UK alone, just to feed us or to put it another way. NASA’s probe Voyager launched 30 years ago has only travelled half that distance. Or we could go to Saturn and back 15 times.
The figures of energy in the UK alone are mind-bending, when we take the world as a whole they are just to big to contemplate it is 143,851trillion watts per hour.
Or for those that like numbers 144,851,000,000,000,000. (just to put into context the sun produces 12.2 trillion watts per square mile.)
But as mentioned like most addicts, we don’t care where we get our fix from. In 2011 87% of all energy came from fossil fuels. ( I have not got any more recent figures). We are tearing our planet apart for energy, We dig up coal, pipe our oil and gas and use it so quickly we can not carry on like this forever.
Instead of fighting the government, about putting up wind turbines, we should be getting in there before they do. In Germany whole communities are putting up wind farms and then using the profits to improve their local amenities. Not twenty minutes away from my house there are whole villages that have got together and plastered the whole area with anti Turbine posters and slogans. Because they claim it is bad for their health, or the noise is unbearable. Again these people should swap houses with residents of Hinkley Point.
We are a nation of energy users, but we don’t want to see that energy being created. We would much prefer if it was created in Another area and not in our back yard.
At the end of the day which of the following two pictures would you prefer to look out on.