Fracking and what it means for Britain

The Great British debate about wind turbines has always perplexed me because I think they are very elegant and in tune with our historical roots as depicted with the windmill clad landscapes of the acclaimed artist called Constable. However, fracking is the real enemy of the Great British countryside, and wind turbines may be the lesser of two evils.

Fracking in full-scale production.

Fracking in full-scale production.

The threat of black-outs by the big six energy suppliers has already begun. Threats of withdrawal of investment for the future of the nation’s energy and the political ‘vote-buying’ is leaving a bewildered British public scared for the future.

There has never been a point in history where investment in research, development and implementation of newer energy technologies not reflected in the consumer’s final energy costs – So why all the fuss now?

From the development of the first large-scale power stations in the early 20th-century to the new and ‘too cheap to meter’ nuclear era, this was always bought and paid for via the consumers final bill.

What is indeed happening here is the age-old, create the problem, then offer the solution tactics to scare the Great British public into accepting ‘fracking’.

Although the lights were going out maybe a real problem, it is one caused by underinvestment and putting shareholders before consumers, in a privatised industry, but mainly the associated problems of peak oil. It is not as they would have you believe, caused by adding a few extra quid to the already high cost of the gas and electricity. The value of this investment has always been present in your bills.

They want you to believe that the real bogeyman is alternative energy – why?

All because energy companies want to spend even less on investment. This situation means gas-powered stations only.

Stage 1 – Get the gas-powered built as cheaply as possible.

Stage 2 – Source the cheapest available gas source (fracking).

Stage 3 – Sell it at a high price.

What you are currently seeing is the political and public dogma to establish Stage one.

With more energy price hikes ahead, you will then begin to see yourself coerced towards the financial benefits of local shale gas.

Once the Great British public has finally persuaded and accepted fracking via more energy cost clobbering, the promise of cheaper energy bills for the home-owner will never materialise as they promised.

By this stage, the magnificent British countryside will be ruined, and the only beneficiaries will be the shareholders of the nation’s energy companies. The Daily Mail generation that fought so vehemently against wind turbines will be gone, and my son’s generation will be left a British countryside which looks more like a planet-sized circuit board than the images so beautifully painted by Constable.

Like I said previously, wind turbines are the lesser of the two evils.

An alternative view of alternative energy

As I was driving with my toddler son along the motorway the other day, it surprised me that (without prompting) he began pointing at something ahead which had caught his eye in the distance. This situation usually only happens with unusual things like planes and helicopters in the sky, but something just as strange (in his world anyway) was intriguing him again.

Not perfect, but alternative energy is cleaner than fracking.

Not perfect, but alternative energy is cleaner than fracking.

This fantastic thing in question was a wind turbine just off the M6 near Lancaster. This situation got me thinking that even to a toddler, these things were considered unique. When I would have been about the same age, the newish super-massive Jumbo Jets would have seemed just as unusual to me. In fact, we once went to Manchester Airport only to watch them take off and land.

Since those days (without even realising it) I have benefited directly and indirectly from this once new technological advancement in powered flight, and it makes me wonder why some people would deny similar advancements in energy technologies that would benefit my son and his generation.

Taking the air industry as an example because it has been capitalism’s most successful sector, would we see the success of the air industry today if the investments, research and development had not taken place in the mid-twentieth century.

What seemed a pipe-dream then, has been realised tenfold today. Even people on the most modest of incomes can travel halfway around the globe thanks to the investments made back then.

If the early air industry had gone for ‘cheap as possible’ as we see with utility companies today, then your catalogue of foreign holidays and adventures would never have ever occurred.

The air industry, despite its environmental impact, has shown us that technological dreams can come true.

These dreams weren’t envisioned when Boeing was fixing jet engines onto the first commercial plane. Nobody thought that one day, students would travel to Thailand, just to ‘have a break’. They were only concerned with pushing the boundaries of engineering.

Nobody complained the jets would spoil the look of the sky and even though the benefits of air travel were exclusively for the affluent, the trickle-down effect meant we could all one day benefit (directly or indirectly) from this once new and exciting technology.

The air industry, despite its ecological faults, could be an excellent example for the alternative energy industry to follow, so maybe one day, our children of all income brackets will all have solar panels on their roofs and not be so dependent on their very unaffordable and expensive energy suppliers.

"Light is life."

Stuart Lovatt 2013-11-13
Founder of Power My Home.