Mix of methods is way forward for power generation

I wonder how many other people heard about the breakthrough in LIFE (laser ignited fusion energy) that was featured on the news last week.

This uses hydrogen atoms, derived from water, as fuel and harnesses the process that generates energy in our sun. It has the potential to revolutionise the world’s energy economy.

At last, a breath of fresh air in the debate on energy – a glimmer of hope that scientific research can win through and provide a clean, safe alternative to either fossil fuels or nuclear power based on splitting atoms like uranium.

Faced with the dangers of climate change or toxic nuclear waste I used to feel that renewable, green energy was the future. I even voted Green. It all seemed so wholesome, so socially and environmentally responsible. Then I started questioning the rhetoric on wind power:

If we fell millions of trees and damage peat bogs to build wind farms are we saving carbon or destroying nature’s own carbon capture systems?

If large government subsidies are required to encourage wind turbines to be built are they economically viable?

If a wind turbine can generate an income of up to £390,000 a year, are we surprised that landowners are keen to build them and employ slick firms to market them to communities?

If a wind farm is paid £1.2million not to produce electricity for 8½ hours (Sunday Telegraph, September 18) how much will consumers have to pay?

If people living near wind turbines get higher fuel bills instead of cheap or even free electricity, as some believe, will they feel duped and wish they’d read the small print?

Will our children really thank us for spoiling our countryside to provide an intermittent power source with questionable green credentials?

Maybe I’ve just become more cynical or perhaps I’ve started making up my own mind about who and what to believe.

I now support a mixed energy economy, combined with investment in research to provide new, safe, sustainable and reliable energy sources for the future.

Dr Greta Mordue