MORE EXPENSIVE electricity is the only realistic way to bring down energy consumption in the developed world, ICE members were told last week at the 'Switch on, Switch off?' meeting on sustainable energy.
Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) senior energy specialist Smail Khennas believes people will quickly learn new habits, as they did during the oil crisis in the 1970s, but this will only be achieved with financial pressure.
As the UK struggles to meet its emission reduction targets, renewable energy could be the realistic alternative to nuclear power. But BNFL chief executive Norman Askew believes the answer is to build a further 20 nuclear power stations.
'With our gas supplies close to depletion, the UK will be over dependant on imported gas, resulting in an insecure supply, volatile electricity prices and an inability to meet the UK's greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, ' he said.
The UK is committed to generating 10% of its energy from renewable sources but, despite construction of wind farms, that ambition is still far too short sighted, believes ITDG managing director Ray Holland. 'In Denmark they are looking to provide 50% of their total supply from renewable sources by 2035, ' he said. 'I'm afraid that in this country we just don't have that same drive.'
ITDG looks to help marginalised people and areas. Energy has been off the development agenda for some time and ITDG is looking to address the issue with some exciting life changing projects, Holland said.
Over 2bn people worldwide live without electricity. Without light in the evenings children's schooling suffers and social contact is limited. Kerosene lamps run health risks and give poor illumination. Worse still, 1.8m deaths every year are associated with internal domestic air pollution, the meeting was told.