Backwards thinking on energy (David Leith)
I have been working in the Norwegian oil industry for six years and so I have a very good understanding of Norway’s energy concerns. Because of this, I was surprised to find such open hostility to renewable energy in Shetland. Our cousins in Norway have already accepted the end of oil and are planning for the future. They have numerous schemes in the pipeline including wave/wind generators and hydro plants. Even now, if we consider the hydro plants they already have, Norway can afford to sell electricity to the rest of Europe. They understand that without a concrete plan for the future, then Norway will slip back to the Middle Ages.
Now you may think I’m being dramatic here, but consider this. Yes, there will be bio-fuel and battery technology etc. But not enough will be produced for everyone. No planes, trucks or food distribution. No garbage collection. Everyone will have to grow food in their gardens because it won’t be supplied. No supermarkets. Global trade will disappear in large parts of the world. Most of the world’s lithium for use in batteries is in Bolivia. How do we get it without ships and planes? Famine will lead to disease and death for many in this overpopulated world. They will eventually start fighting for resources – same as we do now but much worse. The plastic and polymer industry would virtually collapse and I don’t need to remind you of how much we use plastics. I could go on and on. The bottom line is, the world as we know it today will change completely and we need to be ready to change with it.
I hear people talk of “ruining their view” when windmills are mentioned. Will future generations be thankful they can still see blank featureless hill tops when there’s no electricity to power computers, lights, cookers, heaters, stereos, TVs, refrigerators and every other appliance we take for granted? What we’re talking about here is virtually free abundant energy all year round. So in the future, when we’re struggling to find other types of fuel, at least we’ll still have electricity. We should harvest nature’s power, which Shetland has in abundance. And if you can’t see the benefits of this, then please be quiet and let the rest of us plan for the future.
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