AN ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLE of SOVEREIGNTY
by Alistair McConnachie (September 2004 issue of Sovereignty)
Sovereignty advocates Energy Independence. As we said in our February 2003 issue, a sovereign individual, community or nation is able to provide for its own energy needs.
It should be the goal of a nation aspiring to sovereignty to achieve Energy Independence. A nation which is unable to achieve Energy Independence may become perilously reliant upon outside sources, or may even need to develop imperialistic policies which threaten other nations.
Consequently, we advocate a Sustainable Energy for National Self-Reliance Programme.
However, the present government's drive for "renewable energy", is driven by its strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from conventional power stations, in order to meet its commitments on "global warming".
National Self-Reliance -- as a motivating engine -- does not factor. Indeed, as Suzanne Greenhill points out here, an imbalance towards "renewables" could lead to national dependence upon outside forces.
Moreover, the "global warming" theory is a contentious proposition. By no means are all scientists and academics agreed that such a thing even exists! See for example Professor David Bellamy's article, Global Warming? What a Load of Poppycock in the Daily Mail of 9th July 2004, and reproduced here
Indeed, the toxic element of fossil fuels is of more direct concern to our health and our environment, than the highly debatable "global warming" theory.
We advocate that Energy Policy should be based on the rationale of National Self-Reliance -- rather than "reducing global warming".
If we had an energy policy based on National Self-Reliance, then "renewables" could indeed play an important and useful part, if applied appropriately where they are most efficient -- on small-scale, not industrial, levels.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR A NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY
Rather than basing national energy policy on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide supposedly to reduce "global warming", it makes more sense to base energy policy on the following principles:
- Self-Reliance - at a National, Local and Personal Level. Guided by this first and most essential principle, energy mechanisms would be chosen for their ability to provide the necessary power, efficiently, at the appropriate level. This could lead to a wide range of energy alternatives, including effective forms of renewable energy utilised where they can most efficiently be applied.
- Freedom from Pollution and Environmental Destruction. Guided by this secondary principle we would aim to reduce levels of toxicity in our atmosphere -- such as those produced by fossil fuels -- without compromising the first essential energy principle of Self Reliance -- and we would reject particular energy proposals, or polices in any sphere, which caused environmental damage.
- Renewables are often best Applied on the Small-Scale. The concept of renewable energy flows from the heart of ecological awareness. At the heart of ecological awareness is the understanding that small is beautiful, that our footprints on the planet should be light, that we seek to live in harmony with nature. Thus renewable energy mechanisms must be applied within that understanding. Clearly, industrial wind farms contradict the very essence of ecological awareness. Instead, wind power is best utilised on the small-scale, to provide an element of self-reliance and less pollution at the level of a home, a hotel, a farm, a community, an institution, or a public sector building. Such a principle in action would help people to "live off the grid". It would encourage them to utilise wind and solar energy for their own power generation, which could be sold to the National Grid when it generated more than they needed.
SOME SENSIBLE GREEN ENERGY POLICIES
Here are some do-able Green Energy Policies for saving and for generating energy, and for combating toxic pollution, which make more sense than blighting the landscape with industrial wind farms.
- Re-orientate Wind Power from Industrial to Mini-turbine applied where it's most efficient -- at the personal, communal and specific project level, with consideration and provision given for neighbours potentially affected by flicker or noise to object to planning permission
- Make new-build Houses "Energy Efficient". Whether the government is capable of such "joined-up thinking", however, remains debatable. For example, the new Scottish Parliament has been built so "energy inefficiently" that when the MSPs moved in at the end of August, Alex Fergusson MSP pointed out,"The offices are also going to be without natural light for much of the year -- and when you have got a window that cost £17,000, that's a bit of a shame." Roseanna Cunningham MSP said,"I'm really disappointed at how dark it is. Clearly the lights are going to have to be on all the time, even in the summer." (Scottish Daily Mail,31 August 2004)
- Aim Long-term for Solar Content in all new-build Housing. At the moment, fitting new-build housing with solar panels is not practical given the expense, which is affordable only by the better-off. However, new public sector buildings could be fitted with solar panels. This would provide an on-going scientific project which would lead, in time, to the development of cheaper methods of solar-harnessing technology.
- Increase Natural Woodland -- not necessarily forestry.
- Increase Cropping Bio-diversity in farming and Green Spaces in towns and cities.
- Develop and Promote Biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels, including especially those made from household waste. All new vehicles in Brazil, for example, run on ethanol, either pure or mixed with petrol, produced from its sugar cane crop.
- Educate Children in Energy Efficiency; make Sustainable Energy for National Self-Reliance part of National Curriculum.
ENERGY POLICY DOES NOT EXIST IN A VACUUM
There are bigger issues related around our consumption of energy which the government must address -- otherwise all the wind farms from John o' Groats to Penzance will never keep up with demand!
- Implement Zero Net Immigration. Ultimately, energy needs are dependent upon quantity of people. The more people, the more energy needed. And the fewer people, the less pollution! So, we must stop mass immigration and "asylum seeking", which means, at the very least, implementing zero net immigration (see Sovereignty, Jan 2003 and Sept 2003).
- Re-orientate Trade to the Local.... Economic Globalisation uses more energy than a localised economic system. A policy of National Food Sovereignty (see Sovereignty, July 2002) would help cut back on unnecessary long-distance trade.
- Build Social Cohesion. If people are using cars more often, is it because they are scared to walk the streets or use public transport? In which case, energy use is related to Social Breakdown, and inter-related with Law and Order issues.
- Consider the Careful Application of Environmental Taxes. This is a tricky field because we must ensure that prices are not simply passed on to the consumer, or burden the less well-off, or put important national industries out of business. Any such policy has to be balanced within the overall aim of assuring National Self-Reliance. And generally it can be agreed that technology, not taxation, will cut pollution in the long-term. But in the short-term, consider: Do cut-price airfares to the Continent, for example, really reflect their true cost in terms of energy use, and environmental impact?
REAL GREEN WINDPOWER aims for SELF-RELIANT ENERGY PROVISION on a SMALL-SCALE|
Wind is best harnessed at a small-scale, not an industrial-sized, level.
For example, this excellent little "mini-turbine" is reputed to provide 15% of the annual electricity needs of an average house, and represents the direction in which the windpower movement needs to travel.
That is, it needs to travel in the direction of providing Energy Independence for individuals, families, small-scale institutions, and public sector buildings....
It should not be travelling in the direction of vast industrial windfarms which blight the landscape, destroy the surrounding environment, are highly subsidised and expensive, and in terms of national dependence, dangerously inefficient.
Compactly sized, the new device (which we would prefer to see shielded so as not to cause distractive flicker or hurt birds) would appear, even at this quite early stage in its development, to offer a practical application of the principles of Localisation.
See report by John Vidal, Mini-turbine brings 'green power for all' in The Guardian on 24th November 2003, the text of which is also here.