Let there be light

Street lighting
Street lighting
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Within the past few days concerns have been raised about whether we have enough electricity-generating capacity to keep the lights on over the next decade.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) warned that if old nuclear power stations and coal-fired stations due for closure by 2025 are not replaced with up to 30 gas-fired plants then the lights will go out.

Last year the National Grid warned that the margin between peak electricity use and available capacity was shrinking and the lights could go out if more capacity was not available to meet demand in severe cold winter weather.

The Government’s response is to pursue a new generation of nuclear power stations and on-shore oil and gas from ‘fracking’ wells. Potential sites for exploratory drilling for fracking include the Peak District and the boundaries of Sheffield.

However, the Green Party has a far simpler solution. The British Energy Efficiency Federation points out overall energy consumption is in fact down 18 per cent in the last 10 years. The Green Party would prioritise investment in energy efficiency to reduce demand further and reduce household energy bills. We would also boost development of renewable technologies like wind, solar, wave and tidal power.

We know how to do these things and we know they work. We know that they have a much smaller environmental impact. They do not pollute the atmosphere with climate-changing greenhouse gases nor leave a legacy of radioactive waste.

What’s more they create sustainable skilled employment and cities like Sheffield could benefit significantly from a green economy with new opportunities for its green business, engineering and research sectors.

Stewart Kemp

Sheffield Green Party