Price of power

SIR - I note the comments in the Gazette regarding the erection of Wind Turbines at Fullabrook, and would like to add my own comment or two.

I am now retired, but I spent my working life in power stations - for the most part, nuclear power stations, finally as Manager at Bradwell Nuclear Power Station in Essex.

Before I retired, I spent some time at the lengthy Public Inquiry into the building of Sizewell B Power Station in Suffolk. To my mind, it was a very fair Inquiry, with all views able to be fully expressed, by numerous interested parties.

I mention this, because one of the features of the Inquiry was the many suggestions that were put forward by objectors, (to the building of Sizewell B Power Station), of alternative ways of producing electricity, other than from the use of nuclear fuel.

The alternatives included, among others, the construction of a barrage across the River Severn, the rejuvenation of the coal industry, wave power, - and the development of wind power, - with a few ‘also-rans’. Some were concerned with large-scale power generation, others with smaller-scale projects that would at least conserve known fuel resources.

I recall the great emphasis that at that time was placed on the development of wave and wind power, particularly noting their ‘clean’ image when compared to other methods of power generation.

As regards Fullabrook, other considerations are being voiced.

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I do not intend to enter the debate. For one thing I am biased, as one might expect, but that is not my purpose in writing to you. My point is that in this life, one rarely gets ‘something for nothing’. If we still expect that the light will come on when we flick a switch, that the television or the washing machine will work, when needed, - then the required power must come from somewhere.

If one wants to be completely rural, one must rely (mostly) on rural resources. Electricity does not fit readily into this equation.

In my working life, I frequently encountered the NIMBY principle - or ‘not in my back yard’. It has never been a phrase that tripped readily from my lips, but it certainly was a reality, at least, in those days.

Perhaps it is still alive and well? Perhaps your readers will comment? We will never return to the sort of dirty coal-fired Thames-side power station where I began my career, but electricity will not come to our homes without some cost. What do your readers feel is an acceptable cost?

Norman Hills


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