I am disappointed to see the ICE's magazine being used as a vehicle for Bernard Ingham's soap box against renewable energy and his blind promotion of nuclear power. ICE Members should be aware of the fact that Sir Bernard's PR vehicle, SONE, is, by invitation, using Great George Street as its headquarters. On behalf of the British Wind Energy Association I have written to the Director General to complain about this prostitution of the ICE's reputation. Sir Bernard lobbies against all wind energy schemes, even though they are in line with Government policy.
The relevance of nuclear power to the climate change debate is a real one but it will not be helped by misleading facts. Sir Bernard claims that renewable energy is uneconomic. This is incorrect. The latest 1,000MW of power contracts issued by the DTI for renewable energy averaged 2.71 pence per unit. The IEE review of nuclear costs in 1993/4 put the cost of nuclear power at 3.09 pence per unit, at a highly optimistic 8% rate of return over 40 years.
Now is not the best time to promote nuclear power, with Germany talking of reneging on its waste reprocessing contracts and the radioactive 'dustbin' scandal at Dounreay . The proposed future of nuclear power with 100 year de-commissioning programmes would see three contaminated sites for every working station as building overtakes demolition.
The wind energy industry operates a 'good neighbour' policy, something Sir Bernard has trouble with. If Sir Bernard wishes to promote nuclear power over renewables, then we look forward to seeing him and his pressure group selling the idea to public meetings at their proposed sites.
Peter Hinson (M), vice chairman, British Wind Energy Association, 26 Spring Street, London W2 1JA