With households the length and breadth of the country still reeling at the grim reality of last week’s new energy price cap, the publication of the third instalment of the IPCC report is another gut punch for the everyday consumer. The front pages of this morning’s papers scream it’s ‘now or never’ if the world is to prevent a climate disaster. If you’re not feeling overwhelmed right now, you should be.
This Thursday will (we hope) see the publication of the Government’s long-promised energy strategy and with it a wave of new commitments to supercharge the UK’s energy independence and cut ties with Russian oil and gas. We’re set to see some big ambition to grow new nuclear and offshore wind while incentives for local communities willing to accept more onshore wind and solar farms are also proposed. Speculation over the potential for an end to the fracking moratorium is also rife, with shale gas developer Cuadrilla granted a reprieve just last week to delay sealing up its two wells in Lancashire for another year. It would seem that every technology, including many more not mentioned above, is on the table for consideration and, as recent events show, the stakes for people and the planet have never been higher.
While the past two years of Covid-19 have been bleak, and tragic for many, I am hopeful that in energy terms they will become our friend. I don’t know a single person who didn’t suddenly discover a newfound respect for the simplest things that we once took so for granted. Electricity to power our devices and keep us in touch with friends and loved ones. And the heat to keep us warm. It also brought about a realisation of how precious our fragile planet is, as millions of people flocked to outdoor spaces, delighting in all the sun and showers that mother nature felt fit to cast upon us.
So what about these bananas then? I first came across this expression back in the mid-noughties at a time when the energy challenge was just starting to break through into the public’s consciousness, yet no one wanted any of the solutions in their backyard. Ye olde nimby’s (I’m sure I don’t need to translate that) became a bunch of bananas; that is, a crew of people committed to Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.
Today, I think we can all take heart that the world has woken up to the fact that there is no silver bullet that will deliver an energy future that is as cheap or as secure as we would like, or as kind to our precious planet as it deserves.
And that’s why I’m all about the grapes. Get Ready And Plan (for) Everything.