The way in which we source and use power is one of those issues open to huge debate. Being involved in the lighting industry means that this is a subject that is close to the heart of Lucy Zodion, not least of all as the quality of energy generated has a direct correlation as to the way in which our products perform.
There are many schools of thought as to how we will source energy in the future and what is being done to make sure that there does not come a time when we run short. Green energy has been high on the public and government agenda for some time but as we know, despite its ethical credentials it does come with some challenges.
For example renewable energy such as that generated by wind turbines is fantastic as long as the wind blows. It is very difficult to store energy and there is limited storage and even if it were better, stand by generation is not good enough to power street lighting - surety of supply is important.
There is nuclear energy "however there is a huge amount of public concern surrounding the safety of this form of energy production particularly in the wake of Fukushima. It is one of those ideals that technically, even if there could be a calming of public opinion there would always be the issue of ˜not in my back yard."
Consider also Coal/Oil and Gas each of which comes with issues of high CO2, and fossil fuel extraction is not without issues (consider the recent concern about fracking). CO2 requires carbon capture and sequestration so comes with its own challenges and costs both financially and to the environment.
Consider the issues that are running alongside these energy choices. We have a diminishing capacity to produce energy as many nuclear plants are being decommissioned due to age.
We are, despite being encouraged to reduce our energy consumption as a population, using an increasing amount of electricity commercially, industrially and in the domestic markets.
So what is being done to try and alleviate some of the pressures? The introduction of energy saving measures and taxes will have an impact on the requirement to save energy. For example, most streetlighting will from 2014 fall under the scope of CRC. Councils therefore will, under the greenhouse tax for medium sized users, be taxed separately on energy usage.
The money to pay these bills will have to come from somewhere. Costs will need to be cut either directly through the reduced usage of street lighting or by impacting on another area of council spending.
We as a business could look at how we reduce our energy costs. We could chose to export our manufacturing to Asia etc. This would certainly reduce our energy consumption and our CO2 production. However, this doesn't help us a global economy because we would simply be exporting the CO2 and not actually stopping it from being generated.
We can all see that there is no obvious answer to the long term energy production issues. Nonetheless we all have to be aware of the measures that will be taken to help reduce energy consumption. One of our key tasks in addition to looking at our own patterns of energy usage will be to work with our council customers on how they can manage the impact of the CRC legislation without simply resorting to a complete switching off of lights.