Sunday, June 29, 2008

At last, some common sense

The Independent on Sunday reports that a majority of Britons are willing to pay more in energy prices if we invest substantially in renewable energy (click here).

Investing in renewables would put up the price in the short term, but over the longer term it would almost certainly help bring prices back down. Once renewable energy is established, that's it: wind, sun, tidal power and other sources have one major advantage over oil and gas - they won't run out. Furthermore, by generating our own power in this way we immediately insulate ourselves against price spikes bought about by growing demand and faltering supplies elsewhere in the world.

It's a win-win situation, which is why all the money being thrown at nuclear power should be diverted towards renewables, particularly by encouraging more people to generate their own power. A 1.2kw wind turbine costs around £2,000 fitted, and is guaranteed for ten years. On average it appears to produce 200 watts of power per hour - it doesn't sound like much, but you'd be surprised at how little electricity you need to generate if you switch to low-energy light bulbs, avoid power-guzzling TVs and remember to switch off at the socket. Another trick: use a laptop instead of a desktop - power consumption is around 40 watts, the same as your LCD monitor, never mind the desktop PC itself.

Its manufacturers reckon you'll get back the cost of it within those ten years, but you have to ask yourself: if electricity is going to jump 25 per cent this year, the cost may well be recouped a lot sooner than that...

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