Bangalore: Pandering to policy makers who see the future of UK energy defined by expensive ''eco-bling'' solutions, will have disastrous effects for the government and for consumers. That's the warning from the incoming president of Europe's largest engineering membership body, Dr. Nigel Burton.
In a call to action for the engineering policy community, Dr. Burton who assumed the presidency of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) yesterday, saysd that there need be no gap in time before money-saving energy policy can be introduced. This could be achieved, he says, by reducing subsidies for some current high-cost, low-saving initiatives.
In his wide ranging inaugural speech, Dr Nigel Burton says some technologies ''are a serious misallocation of resources if the principal objective is cost-effective emissions reduction. Early enthusiasm for domestic wind turbines has waned as it has become clear that in general these have no economic value and in some cases consume more electricity than they produce.'' The subsidies for solar photovoltaics risk repeating the expensive mistakes made in Germany.
Dr Burton argues that ''Reducing carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 will require a complete redesign of UK energy production and consumption.'' He goes on to say that these changes will require investment of an estimated £400 billion by 2050.
One of his key recommendations is to focus on the decarbonisation of electricity production. He also claims that widespread public ''conversion to electronic vehicles should be given a high priority.''
Dr Burton asserts that ''most hopes of achieving the carbon reduction targets rest on increased electrification of the economy and decarbonisation of the power sector.'' However, that is no easy change as about 78 per cent of electricity generation is currently from coal and gas.
Dr. Burton, mades his opening address at the IET's London headquarters, with a widely anticipated discourse on energy, entitled ''Keeping the lights on – an inconvenient truth'. The lecture will be attended by IET members, policymakers and the public