LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Navigating the complicated world of power

MY effigy is beginning to look at home on Blist’s cartoons; times in three weeks and looking very biblical.

Back to comments. COP27 is underway in Egypt, and surprise, surprise, the fossil fuel lobby has sent 636 accredited delegates to the conference, more than any recognised nation attending. At the same time many ecological representatives are having problems getting accreditation and they’re being herded into separate halls away from the main conference centre. And a report has emerged of an organisation that calls itself “The African Union”, which is not concerned with climate change at all, but is a union of 55 member states wishing to open the continent up to more oil and gas exploration and mineral mining.

Rishi Sunak, in his opening speech, has stated that “diversing our energy supplies by investing in renewables is the only way to insure against the risks of energy dependency”, which sounds strange coming from a PM actively opposing onshore wind and solar farms, continuing to sell off our offshore wind, and supporting coal, oil and gas exploration by subsidies and immunity from windfall tax to any company investing in it.

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On more local matters. To C Peters, as I’ve stated in a previous letter, when any national or international matter directly impinges on the life and future welfare of the local people, it becomes a local matter. As for Forge Island, I can’t recall any diatribe of mine on that subject, and given the state of flux as regards the design and financing of the project, it would take a braver man than me, outside of the RMBC planning department, to make any guess at the final outcome. I do agree that given the proximity of similar venues, a flagship cinema seems a waste of space. However, I disagree on the inclusion of a hotel. If Rotherham is to have any chance of reinventing itself as a future commercial or industrial centre, a good hotel near the centre where prospective clients or agents can spend the night is a must. Sheffield has at least eight and I have yet to hear of any lack of clients.

As regards tidal power, I wrote a letter on that subject over a year ago. Great idea, but they take so long to build. The best one in Europe is French, took ten years to build and two years to commission, and we don’t have that time. Solar (or daylight) power, despite your reservations, is quickly and easily installed, and delivers excellent returns even in Scotland. Wind power may be intermittent, but it’s always blowing somewhere and you don’t need much; indeed it’s far more likely in Britain for the wind to be too strong than too light.

And what about hydro, geothermal, wave power and heat pumps? The sources are legion. You then have time to build your tidal barriers, and with your surplus, you can create green hydrogen to fuel your road transport, agricultural tractors, shipping and aircraft. But none of this can happen as long as we are bound hand and foot to fossil fuels and nuclear, as both of our main political parties are. Also the proposed new nuclear power station on the Severn Estuary is so costly that neither the French/Chinese builders or the government will pay for it, so they’re proposing a special monthly tax on all power users until it’s operating, and now they’ve discovered that there’s not enough water in the Severn and the nearest other river to build and operate it, so we’re told “the water will be found”.

This in a country in a nationwide water shortage, where we’re being told by Yorkshire Water Authority that our hosepipe ban will last all winter, and that “unless the rainfall this winter is greater than normal, we will be starting next summer in an official drought situation”. Crazy!

Charles David Foulstone, Rotherham Green Party