How will the new EU energy plan affect the UK
The European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso revealed his plan of action to reduce the EU’s selling the plan as “the first economy for the low-carbon age”. Barroso wants the whole of the EU to reduce its green house gas by 20% by 2020.
What does this mean for Britain, well first things first we would need to decide on what methods we would use to help bring down the countries green house gas. Being an island the UK’s first choice of renewable energies would be wind. Business Secretary John Hutton announced that UK government wanted to see enough offshore wind farms to power the all UK homes. Obviously this will lead to a slight decline in the quality of our seaside views but think of the good it will do for the environment as a whole. There are already some companies offering wind powered electricity.
Another option the UK has a tidal barrage1, a tidal barrage on the Severn estuary would contribute more that any of the other renewable sources. However this comes with a price, 15 billion pounds! Due to its massive price and the time it takes to set up, I fear that no matter how energy efficient a tidal barrage is, it will always be the last option. However, hydro electricity is being used by some energy providers in the UK.
You will find a brief run down of what biofuel are at wiki2. Basically it is a fuel made from living things or the waste that they produce. This sort of fuel was used in World War II but the cheap price of crude oil caused it to be knocked back to second place. The UK would make it’s biofuel from plants specifically grown for this purpose, e.g. maze. Although biofuels still release CO2, this is counter balanced by the plants absorbing CO2; though you still need to burn fuel to harvest and manufacture the biofuel. Even with the expenditure of fuel to harvest and manufacture biofuel, biofuel is believed to reduce green house gases by 30% – 40%. A downside to biofuel is that it may lead to entire areas of Britain’s countryside being turning into farms for biofuel crops. There are some companies just now who are offering biofuel as an alternative energy3 but not many at the moment.
So what does this mean
Well, I am not sure if you notice from reading this article but no matter what we do to try reduce our greenhouse gases one way or the other we will need to trade off our British landscape for our green goals. In addition to that we will need to pay financially, Barroso believes that it will cost everyone approximately £2.10 per week4 to reach the goals set by the EU, it will be up to the public to decide if that is a fair price for a richer environment.