Academics at Newcastle University have argued that our energy sector has become too 'fragmented' and that our energy future isn't secure as a nation. Their study found that a strategic authority is needed to impartially ensure energy security, and the current pricing model doesn't reflect the high economical and environmental cost of generating and distributing energy in years to come. Do we have a problem here?
On Tuesday, academics at Newcastle University revealed a study which argued that in order to establish a secure energy future, Britain's Government must establish a 'strategic authority' to oversee, and develop, future growth. Currently, the UK Government utilises a market-based approach to running the energy sector, something which has been under close scrutniy recently as the 'big six' have come under fire. But this study argues that stimulating the market simply isn't enough, and the £100 billion needed to secure our energy future as a nation is simply not being delivered by the current 'fragmented' system.
Professor Phil Taylor led the team of academics, and said that the country needed a "systems architect" and that energy for the general population was too cheap and too much was being wasted. Naturally, this won't wash well with the public who have taken a vehement stance against energy price rises and profiteering energy companies, but he may have a point. Currently, we're outraged by the price of energy but we continue to leave appliances on and use energy freely and without any real thought. Would price rises help the country in general 'save energy'?
He said, "Although we must make sure people can afford to heat their homes, for the majority of us energy is actually too cheap – this is why we leave lights on, keep appliances running and use machines at peak times when energy costs more." Perhaps, or perhaps not. Surely these price hikes and reported profit margins are a matter of principle, not practicality, although more could surely be done to save energy in homes. Is saving energy in homes really burden that stops with the consumer though? Of course, we should all do our utmost to reduce our carbon footprints and the amount of energy we consume in our homes - we have that obligation even if we can afford to waste energy - but why isn't the Government being held to account? Wasn't the ECO charge designed to do just that? Improve insulation in poor homes across Britain to bring our overall energy consumption down? That plan was scrapped the minute the big six realised they couldn't have their cake and eat it too.
The Labour Party have already spoken out and said they want to form an Energy Security Board in order to lead the country into energy safety and effectively 'be in charge' of ensuring our future. The paper in question seemed to have been getting at just this - a body which could operate above the National Grid but below Government which would oversee planning and development. What are your thoughts?
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