Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Green Revolution - or Is Ken Just Power Mad?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Green Revolution - or Is Ken Just Power Mad?

Article excerpt


A SPY satellite snapping a picture of London on 22 February 2020 willcapture 6168 wind turbines whirring, 21,750 solar energy cells glinting, 42waste digesters chomping rubbishand 24 huge combined heat and power stations silently pumping hot water andelectricity through a tracery of new pipes and wires into tens of thousands ofLondon homes.

This planet-saving activity will generate 1,385,969 megawatt hours of energy.At least, that's the plan.

Ken Livingstone's plan actually. All 508 pages were published this week,including the table on page 221 listing the above, perhaps overprecise,targets.

Like the Mayor's original development plan for the capital, brought out inFebruary 2004, the latest edition is also scaffold-plank thick.

It concerns itself largely with laying down the rules on what can and can't bebuilt across the 32 boroughs. On this issue, policy has changed little. Thecentral thrust remains, build high and wide around rail and Tube stations.

For that, developers have blessed Ken.

He may now be cursed. The Big Idea in the new plan is to force all developersto reduce planet-damaging carbon emissions by hooking new homes and officesinto "renewable energy" sources. This can come from wind or sunor from an on-site or friendly neighbourhood combined heat and power (CHP)station.

The Government is already demanding that all new homes and commercial buildingsmeet stringent new energy targets by 2016. The Mayor wants a further 20%reduction in killer carbon atoms.

For this, Ken will be blessed by hucksters selling gimcrack wind turbines andbrittle solar panels. Inventors with half-mad ideas to miraculously transformrubbish and sewage into electricity and gas will flock to City Hall. Green isthe new orthodoxy, a creed in its formative fundamentalist phase. All sorts ofgreener-than-thou ideas however silly are being taken seriously.

But those combined heat and power stations, well, that is another matter.

This is a serious idea. …

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