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29 June 2013

The Sun's gone down .. Time for Bed

Light was on the face of the deep. And the Energy Minister said, “Let there be darkness” and there was darkness.

Apparently, here in Britain, we have been rather lax in securing our future energy requirements. We have been keen to shut down so-called “dirty” power stations, and reluctant to start building new nuclear power stations. Now there is talk about a looming energy crisis in which we face winter-time power cuts, and the Government might have to instruct industries to cease consuming energy at certain times.
How might this affect us? Should we be worried? Perhaps we might rediscover that old Wartime Spirit that apparently held our communities together when Adolph set out on his Grand European Tour and started bombing the hell out of us. Keep calm and carry candles.

I’m trying to be optimistic. There must be some upside to the threatened loss of heat and light. For starters, in order to reduce the risk of excessive demand  there could be an upturn in employment prospects by commissioning thousands of street wardens (steel helmet optional) parading up and down shouting “Put that light out!”
Without television, radio, computers or smartphones, we would be forced to reintroduce the concept of conversation. Without heating we would increase the employment of clothing manufacturers (obviously doing everything manually) to provide the extra layers of clothing we would need. Here in Britain we already have the advantage of winter clothing being equally useable as summer clothing, since it is often hard to tell the difference between these two seasons (if you ignore the presence or absence of leaves on the trees).

On the more cautionary side of the argument, we must be prepared for a sudden surge in population as couples give up on the herculean task of talking to each other and retire to bed when the sun goes down. The inevitable increase in amorous couplings is also more likely following the necessary eating of evening meals by candlelight – often a romantic activity.
Talking of candles (again a welcome surge in prospects for candle makers) another advantage for those of us who are workaholics would be the unlimited opportunity to burn them at both ends.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to live near the Houses of Parliament, or perhaps even near provincial town council chambers, will be able to sit around collections of national or local politicians and benefit from the hot air that they exude.
Perhaps we should have woken up to this energy problem years ago. At the moment all we can point to as evidence of some thought to the matter are the woeful inadequacies of the so-called green energy schemes such as wind turbines and solar panels.

Wind turbines have achieved the mutually-exclusive emotions of a false sense of security combined with anger and jealousy against the landowners who appear to be the main (financial) beneficiaries of these monstrous windmills that blight our landscape, kill birds, cause an annoying hum, and provide very little energy. When the wind isn’t blowing they are useless, and when the wind is blowing hard they have to be shut down to protect them from damage.
Solar panels are undoubtedly useful, but have the downside of making your house roof appear extremely unattractive. If you live in a National Park that imposes stringent planning restrictions on pretty much everything you might want to do, you can be refused permission for windows, walls or doors that do not “fit in” with the surrounding area, but it’s apparently OK to replace a tiled roof with huge shiny grey panels.

Britain lives on top of a good supply of coal, but we closed down most of the mines in the 1980s and now have to import most of our requirements. Coal-fired power stations are apparently going to kill the planet, although technology exists to capture and store carbon dioxide. Gas is seen as the way forward, and we’ve now discovered that Britain lives on top of massive quantities of the stuff trapped in subterranean rocks. It can be released by a process called “fracking”, involving drilling deep into the rock , fracturing it, and releasing the gas.
The risks of earthquakes and contamination of water supplies is not a problem in the wide open spaces of the USA, but in this tiny overcrowded country of ours? Fracking hell!

London politicians are wetting themselves with excitement about this, especially as the biggest deposits appear to be in the North of England, from Blackpool in the west to Scarborough in the east. In the 19th century, the North of England was characterised by those dark satanic mills. Will the 21st century be one of dark satanic drills?
So switch those lights out! Light a candle. Enjoy seeing the stars; there’s bound to be a couple of nights without cloud cover this year.

Time for bed.



1 comment:

Roberta said...

Great piece. Funny and smart. Love it when you write about England.