Friday, 17 February 2017

Lights go out on UK and Thailand energy?

The Bangkok Post editorial: Kill all Coal Energy Plans highlights a red-hot issue in Thailand over the EGAT electricity board plans for coal power stations in Krabi and the Deep South.

And similar issues have attracted heat and light in UK too with plans for the closure of all UK coal plants before 2025 to comply with EU Climate Change regulation. Brexit an issue in that the EU has been far more progressive than UK on environment issues over the years.

And UK one of only 5 EU nations likely to be fined over failing on air pollution standards this year.

And as an aside it's interesting to see from the Sky TV Ocean Rescue campaign on plastic in the oceans, and fish we eat, now taken up the by the United Nations, but also plastic bottle recycling at over 85% in many EU nations such as Denmark and Sweden - but only 57% in UK for lack of a 30 cents bottle/can deposit scheme.

The Prachuap Garbage Island may well be just the latest of the Pacific Plastic Patch and Atlantic Plastic Parch requiring rapid cleanup along with the Thames and Stour and Chaopraya.

The Manston-Infratil scandal in Kent with KCC and TDC councils and Infratil removing the airport monitors and faking the emissions data would of course only worsen the pollution figures.

The coal power debate is an even hotter issue with the debate around whether nuclear or renewable power will replace the 21% of UK energy derived from coal. And of course the extra electricity need for Internet of Things and Autonomous Driving etc.

In my politics role I've urged the faster closure of Dungeness nuclear power station - one of the reactors already closed. And ending of the nuclear train of radioactive waste through Kent and London upto Sellafield in Cumbria for cleanup.

And all 16 of UK's nuclear power stations are over 30 years old and now due for closure.

Hinkley was tentatively approved last year but the design is based on the overdue and flawed reactors at Flamanville near Cherbourg in France and Olkiluoto in Finland - both probably the last new reactors in Europe given Italy and Germany are due to decommission all their sites.

As the outgoing regime in Kent are seeing, investing public sector pensions in increasingly worthless fossil fuel shares is a false economy. Already dozens of towns and cities in Europe have agreed to sell of their fossil fuel investments, most notably and recently in Eire:

The Age of Renewables has well and truly begun. And with the debate of a Basic National Income, from the initial renewable investment it even becomes too-cheap-to-meter beyond forecasting demand and reducing waste.

Surely Thailand and UK should also be moving ahead on both storm Resilience and Beautification with a nationwide programme of burying electric pylons and cables?
No new UK nuclear reactor would go live before 2030, and each would only contribute c.7% of UK power - hardly more than could be delivered through better house insulation, or turning the heating (and aircon) down a degree or two through a smartmeter.

While a new Moorside reactor in Cumbria, next to Sellafield, was thrown into disarray this week with the collapse of the Toshiba NuGen consortium amidst an accounting scandal in Japan and the huge cost of USA Toshiba's Westinghouse nuclear division.

As with Olympus it's sad to see a great Japanese Meiji corporation like Toshiba, and also Samsung, damaged by accounting for such old nuclear technology. Toshiba's innovative memory chips division for smartphones may be sold, while its STEM division for education technology - ideal for Yingluck school tech policies in Kent, UK and Thailand - could be held back.

Surely every 21st century schoolchild should have a free tablet PC and smartphone alongside a pencil and paper? How wonderful to have every book or painting or piece of music or museum available from kindergarten.

Downing St in London and Government House in Bangkok will no doubt look on while Singapore or Finland's education systems grasp that opportunity?
With East Kent home to one of the world's largest windfarms with Vattenfall, the Swedish electricty board, and active in nuclear cleanup, surely renewables must be the way forwards for both UK and Thailand?

The current horrifying Mekong dredging and dam issue aside, Laos over the next few decades like Scotland should be a regional battery, if not the Saudi Arabia of Renewables?

And the new Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon could be a step change in wave technology viable for over 120 years. While solar panels that charge day or night, or from movement, will be relevant across ASEAN and Europe regardless of the climate.

And air pollution will be an increasing issue whether the fire haze afflicting Indonesia and Singapore or traffic smog and rise of electric vehicles across ASEAN's ever-larger cities.

But surely Thailand and UK really should be attracting more heat and light as well as investment for renewables into their energy policies?


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