Planning for progress

This month the Wallace family, with dog, less cat, jumped into the car and headed north to Scotland for our summer holiday.  For the cat fans out there, the cat is having a nice break from the dog!

The route we took hasn’t changed for a few years – we have the timing down to a practiced art.  However one major change seemed to be evident – the huge number of new wind turbines.

Now we hear all the time about Scotland being the capital of renewable energy.  But in addition to new sites in Scotland a significant number of English sites appeared since last year and many smaller, community or private turbines had appeared in both countries.

Speaking to family members “up north”, they all seem to be (a) the older generation and (b) opposed to the “blots on the landscape”.  Speaking to the younger generation, who have all moved south, they seem happy to see renewable energy turbines.  Personally I find them a dramatic, and not unpleasing, contrast to the beautiful landscape.  I also note that they will be easy to remove when they become obsolete, leaving a short term footprint.

A report in today’s paper details the huge cost of subsidising the greener energy.  Whether this be the infrastructure to get the energy from the site of generation to the site of use, or the clean-up costs (notably huge costs for nuclear as an alternative for renewables), there seems to be an inherent and uncertain cost for the taxpayer to pay for.  Whether this is production subsidy or clean up legacy, the polarised opinion of the various proponents or opponents should give us all cause for despair that anything will be done.  The debate over fracking seems to be stuck in the same mire.

The whole problem is summed up with in phrase – short term planning.  As a nation we need consensus on major infrastructure projects to enable the nation to progress.  The 5 year parliament term seems inadequately short to deal with such important planning for our future.  How will we settle on a plan to allow price stability and allow industry to plan and invest in the UK?  Well, I’m glad I’m merely an accountant and one on holiday too, so I’ll leave it for greater minds than mine to ponder.

Off to walk the dog now!  And it’s raining, but there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing…….

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