Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy prices did two things. The first was to grab the headlines across all UK media outlets and score some early swing voters. The second was that it put focus back on energy and the UK’s need to invest in more sustainable energy sources.
As soon as Miliband announced these measures the energy companies started scare mongering and threatening that the UK would suffer from blackouts if these measures passed. Well whether this is true or not, various bodies and experts were warning of blackouts by as early as 2015 before this proposed plan. And it is something the country needs to think about both collectively and individually.
Did any of you watch a program called Blackout on channel 4 the other week? It was a hypothetical drama filmed on phones and cameras during a nationwide blackout which lasted a week. It showed how the country may cope, both on a national and individual level. Basically, the results weren’t very good. But what it did show was the vulnerabilities of our infrastructure if the UK was to ever suffer a catastrophic failure in energy.
One of the characters in the story however was a man with a wife and two kids. He was one of those self-sustainable types who actually coped quite well without power until thugs broke into his house and made life harder.
He was equipped with a generator, solar powered gadgets, compostable toilets etc, BBQ’s, emergency pack etc. And he was doing quite well until his neighbours got wind of the supplied he had and robbed him of them.
But what is my point to this? Well my point is, is that this country sooner rather than later is going to have to face up to a very real reality that our need for energy is going to outstrip the supply to keep everything going. Whether Miliband gets his energy pledges through or not, blackouts may happen. And it will highlight massive areas of our infrastructure that are in desperate need of renewable energy sources.
Unfortunately, this is something that is going to take quite a few years, so each of us I think needs to do more to become more self sufficient in our own homes. Generators might be a bit of an expense to some people, so that won’t be an option for everyone. But there are a number of small things we can do to make sure all doesn’t go to hell if there is an energy crisis.
And there might well be one. I don’t want to sound too doomsday about it all, but if our country continues to increase it’s demand for fossil fuels and traditional energy sources, our existing systems won’t cope.