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Alternative energy

The question

Portugal is to build the world's fi rst wave energy farm using the sausage shaped Pelamis machines. What energy generation should the UK promote to meet carbon reduction targets?

We can tinker expensively with all sorts of renewables until the cows come home but it will not satisfy our need for a reliable economic electricity base load. This Portuguese experiment with an as yet unproven technology is costing e8M (£5.7M) for 2.25MW of intermittent uncontrollable power. The only carbon free solution is nuclear. Let us take a leaf out of the Finnish book not the Portuguese one and start rebuilding our nuclear base before it is too late.

Derek Limbert, 64, retired director, Beaconsfield To me the answer lies in the sea with wave energy, tidal energy or offshore wind farms.

We often see wave energy as destructive and invest vast resources in coastal protection.

We would be much better off investing some of this resource into building wave energy systems. There will always be days when there is little or no wind but in the Western approaches there are very few days when there are no surface waves or deep sea swell.

Rob Andrew, 40, engineer, Cornwall We should harness all the hot air and energy expelled in fitness gyms. Exercise machines could be fitted with dynamos and users motivated in the knowledge that they are saving the world while getting fi t. Not a realistic solution, perhaps, but my point is that we should concentrate on reducing energy demand at source to solve this global problem.

Jonathan Fearnley, 32, manager, Nottingham I find it difficult to conceive of a future where nuclear power does not play a major part in our energy supply even with the difficulties in safety and waste disposal. But we should not neglect other options, such as wind, wave, tidal, hydro or biofuels. Investment programmes in all of these will have to be put in place, well in advance of the decline in the use of fossil fuels.

Jim Goodbrand, 56, principal project manager, East Grinstead I think the Portuguese have got it spot on. We live on an island with abundant wave and tide resources waiting to be tapped.

We should be investing in this, not building more and more windmills that depend on a variable energy source.

Kenneth Brown, structures engineer, Edinburgh There are other options such as biomass reactors and wave power and dual wind water turbines. Costs associated with nuclear power such as managing spent fuel and radioactive components will affect future generations and so it is not a sustainable alternative.

Nick Elsworth, 28, transport development researcher, Berkshire Wind is an obvious choice because of how clean it is. As for the usual objections that turbines are ugly and impose on the landscape, coal and nuclear power stations really are monstrosities. If nuclear could be buried safely it would be the way to go but wind and hydro must be invested in more. Let's combine wind and hydro in our vast seas.

Chris Reid, 31, project manager, Glasgow

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