UK Energy Summit
Something I wrote for Concrete, UEA newspaper.
May 3rd saw hundreds of protesters arriving en masse outside a central London hotel as part of the ‘Big Six Energy Bash’; a demonstration against the UK Energy Summit that was taking place inside, attended by the CEOs of the main six energy providers in the UK, which account for some 93% of retail generation. Only 8% of these companies’ capacity is from renewables, and the majority are investing heavily in Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) and nuclear rather than viable renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. Energy security is increasingly precarious, and business has a responsibility to invest in technologies that can ensure a sustainable future, such as wind, solar or biogas. The ‘Big Six’ have been criticised for making record profits, most of which go to executives and shareholders rather than being passed on to consumers. All six CEOs earn between £1m and £1.3m, and 2010 profits of £8.55bn were a third higher than in 2008, while nearly a quarter of households were considered to be in fuel poverty this year. Inequity between demand and supply needs to be addressed to enable a transition to a more energy secure and sustainable future, and there needs to be involvement from people at all levels, not just executives. It is unlikely that high earners have all the solutions, and at £1000 a ticket, it shows the interests of consumers are going unheard – confirmation of ‘business as usual’. Research and development of renewable technology will help diversify our energy supply and reduce our reliance on gas, while also providing a more socially and environmentally sustainable energy system.