Will we implement our renewable solutions in time?

While there are endless acres of information about the likely impact of global warming, and equally large areas of information about alternative sources of energy that will not wreck the planet, the big question is whether we have the collective will to address the problems in time.

Two local examples I've recently come across are, firstly, a design for a tidal power generator on Kent's River Medway patented by a local inventor. Although this was considered for further study in the mid-80's it frustratingly has never got off the drawing board.

Another is an underground spring in Mote Park, Maidstone, which emits a fairly considerable jet of water. It has also been considered as a good opportunity for a micro hydro project for some 20 years, but still remains untapped.

While these are not definitive solutions to our energy needs, they do highlight the bureaucratic barriers that are stifling progress. The Severn Tidal Barrage has been under consideration for decades but, has also never progressed. The Thames Barrier was also seriously considered as a site for a power generating barrage but again, it never happened.

According to a study carried out for the Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland, there are still 657MW of financially viable hydroelectric schemes that it could potentially exploit, sufficient to power around 600,000 homes.

There are concerns about the effects that these schemes might have on the local wildlife and how they might spoil the natural setting of many of these potential energy assets. But, I wonder how bad things are going to have to get, before any of them will be used to provide green power for the UK?

Author
Tom Shelley

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