Planning For Energy Futures With The CBI
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is warning us that posssible energy shortages mean a winter of discontent awaits. This is a matter of concern for everyone. When energy is taken by the banks and business as seriously in terms of analysis as finance, the notion of ‘Futures’ may help us to understand ‘Options’ in a whole new way.
My grasp of ‘Futures’, in the financial sense of the word, is slight; but I gather it’s all to do with large-scale ‘Options’ on investing by banks to produce decent returns later on. So far, so simple.
But isn’t this what we need to think about with energy futures, as well as financial ones? The CBI – an organisation which I would imagine knows a bit about futures and banks – has just said they have serious concerns about energy provision this winter. A long hard snap and we’ll be in for a winter of discontent the likes of which only those of us long in the tooth can recall.
Strangely, the forward thinking which is routinely made for financial futures doesn’t seem to feature when businesses consider energy futures. Some of us would argue, however, that energy is where it’s really all at.
What’s the ‘gold’ of the future?
Hasn’t it been said that the gold of the future is oil? Or maybe these days renewables?
Recent days have seen high-level hints that more nuclear power is on the cards for the UK. Conservationists and eco-people will be horrified by this. Industrial contractors and perhaps some regeneration specialists may see it as a promising way forward.
The real question must surely be, how much thought have we all put into ways of providing energy for the future? And how much have we also thought about the levels of energy we really need, as opposed to the levels we all currently expend?
Leaders in different parts of these fields seem to be looking several ways at once.
Businesses want cheap energy in abundant supply (though some of them do of course make efforts to conserve it as well).
The politicians are trying to do two things: encourage us on the one hand to save energy, and on the other to consider forms of energy production which may or may not be sustainable and long-term safe.
And the scientists are telling us that the technologies for energy conservation and production have not all been explored to the same level. We aren’t as yet in a position to evaluate fully the relative effectiveness and risk of all the possible ways forward; but we do know how to produce shorter-term big science solutions.
‘Options’ in energy
Back then to the ‘futures’ idea. We have graduate physicists and others who, it is reported, have too little to do. (An irony, in my experience, is that many good physicists end up working as analysts in banks, not laboratories.) And we have businessess which are worried about energy. Why not put things together and start to take the ‘options’ on energy as seriously as those on finance?
This isn’t just an issue for people who have lots of money to spend, it’s an issue for us all. Without energy, at suitable levels of availability and sustainability, there could be no banks or businesses anyway.
Posted on October 24, 2005, in Education, Health And Welfare, Knowledge Ecology And Economy, Politics, Policies And Process, Regeneration, Renewal And Resilience, Science Politics And Policy, Sustainability As If People Mattered. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.