Large areas of the countryside will be “industrialised” by a massive building programme if Britain is to service its own energy needs from renewable sources, an academic who has been appointed as a government adviser has warned.
Blackouts have been predicted by the year 2016 unless new sources of energy are developed to replace the ageing power stations that are due to be taken out of service in the coming years, said Cambridge University’s Professor David MacKay.
The public’s opposition to the building of tidal barrages, windfarms and nuclear power plants is partly to blame for the potential electricity shortages in the future.
Left to itself, the market would probably fill the energy gap by building new gas-powered stations, which would put the Government’s climate change targets at risk, warned Prof MacKay.
Cutting Britain’s carbon footprint in line with ministers proposals will require legislation to enable construction of renewable energy facilities on a large scale, he said. The only alternatives were significant lifestyle changes to reduce energy consumption or buying in electricity generated abroad from renewable sources, such as solar panels in the desert.