WHEN I visited Orkney in the 1970s, it was deeply involved in the North Sea Oil boom. The Flotta oil terminal is still operating but renewable energy – mainly wind and some tidal – generates up to 120 percent of the electricity needed by Orkney’s 22,000 inhabitants. The European Marine Energy Centre based in Stromness is trialling 48 tidal and wave power projects. These include the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, Orbital Marine Power’s O2 which from the air looks like a giant 250ft long rowing boat off the isle of Eday. Its 2MW capacity means it could generate enough clean, predictable electricity to meet the demand of around 2,000 UK homes and offset approximately 2,200 tonnes of CO2 production per year. It is just one of countless schemes around the world testing the potential of renewables other than wind and solar to power the world and save it from climate change. At an earlier stage of development and planned for near Liverpool is the £3billion TPGen24, the brainchild of engineer Stuart Murphy. Its promotional video says: “There is more than enough energy in the UK’s tidal waters to satisfy the entire needs of the country, if only it could be captured. Does Britain need nuclear power to turn us green? Yes, says Professor Ian Fells, Technical Director of Penultimate Power UK Ltd which builds compact nuclear High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor Energy Hubs. NO Says Dale Vince Eco-entrepreneur Energy independence from clean, green renewables is a prize well worth having – and perfectly feasible. We have enough wind and sun to power this country many times over. Throw in other sources, such as geothermal – heat from deep under the ground – and marine power and there should be no need for the UK to waste £50billion a year and rising on importing oil and gas. nuclear has many problems. It is hugely expensive. Nuclear power stations take 10 years to design, 10 years to build and another 10 years to pay back their carbon debt. We don’t have time. And at three times the cost of renewables, we don’t need to pay for that. We can power the grid entirely from renewable energy, at a fraction of the price in a fraction of the time and have real carbon reductions almost straight away.
Express 14th June 2021 read more »