06 December 2007

Power to the People

"In other countries low carbon energy sources have led a process of decentralisation – in the Netherlands, for instance, in little more than a decade, combined heat and power (CHP) became the single largest supplier of the country’s energy needs."

I was very interested by the above fact, cited by David Cameron in his intro to today's energy Green Paper, Power to the people: The decentralised energy revolution. I have heard various comments on the radio today noting the cost-ineffectiveness of wind and expressing reservations about photovoltaic power. However, micro-CHP (which Nick Spencer & Robert White also strongly support in their recent book Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living) appears to hold out real prospect of helping us become significantly more efficient in our production and consumption of energy, which has to be a good thing for our finances (personal and national), our national energy security, and our stewardship of the environment.

In contrast to Labour's myopic approach on renewables (it's all wind!), I also welcome David's commitment not to prescribe which energy sources should be used and to level the playing field, allowing "the market to deliver a globally competitive low carbon future." Quite clearly there will be many issues to work through as we "move from a top-down, old-world, centralised system to a bottom-up, new-world, decentralised system," but this seems an exciting contribution towards the creation of a "safer and greener" Britain.