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We care about energy

Pylons at sunset Pylons at sunset Photo: © Chris J Andrews

It’s almost impossible to consider modern life without electricity. With more people wanting more electricity, the subjects of how we generate it and how to use it more wisely was never more important than now.

Climate change is real and it’s taking its toll on the countryside. Within a few decades it will have altered many of our landscapes forever. We are already suffering the effects of wet winters, dry springs, storms and shifting seasons. Our high-carbon economy, based on roads and airport expansion, and energy-inefficient buildings, needs to make way for low-carbon, carefully planned development.

Energy companies should be encouraged reduce consumption and be more efficient, not simply lower prices. Energy users should be equipped with smart meters and smart grids so they can to see how much energy they’re actually using. Realistic, renewable, appropriate and low-carbon alternatives need to be encouraged. Alas, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer – we’re going to have to be more flexible and adaptable than that.

Some cite wind as the panacea, but in practice wind turbines are simply not appropriate in central inland counties like Oxfordshire, where wind is sporadic and fickle.

Then there is the endless march of pylons, strung out across our landscapes, giant coal-fired power stations, and the ugly clutter of substations. All new transmission lines should be buried underground or underwater to reduce landscape impacts. And now we are seeing the rise of solar farms.

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