Earthquakes in Japan lead to a review of nuclear power station safety. Public opposition to nuclear power grows increasingly vocal. Older nuclear reactors will be shut down soon. New ones may (or may not) be built. Power companies warn of higher electricity prices as a result. Windfarms in the North might make up some of the power generation shortfall and keep the lights on- if the national grid can be strengthened to carry the power to the South. But this would need new high voltage cables and a lot of new and very large pylons, passing through very scenic areas popular with tourists. The green movement is split – most oppose nuclear power but also want to protect the countryside. Harmful effects on birds – and tourism – are discussed. The Planning system is accused of being unduly influenced by local opposition instead of the national interest.
This will all sound terribly familiar to those who follow the Energy/Renewable Energy debate in Scotland and the rest of the UK. And yet it’s actually from Germany not the UK (see story here).
So the message is: We are not alone. Other countries face energy policy challenges and climate change obligations. They are also finding there are no easy – and universally popular – answers where nuclear power and renewable energy are concerned. And many of the challenges are exactly the same – even in Germany, which adopted windpower on a large scale long before the UK did.
Mind you, German beer and sausages at Planning meetings? Would that increase public engagement in Planning decisions? Just a thought…
On May 5, 2011