In an opinion piece some while ago, concerning local energy from renewables, I mentioned that Romney Marsh, with all its open land, would be the perfect place for a solar array, and on a recent trip through Spain from north to south there were a number of such arrays – much less of a blot upon the landscape than wind farms. I fully realise that Spain has a lot more sunshine on average than the UK, but with advances in technology, solar panels are now able to operate with acceptable efficiency even when direct sunlight is unavailable.
It seems that others have had the same idea as several companies are understood to be showing interest in establishing just such an operation on Romney Marsh. There is, of course, a long way to go before we see acres of bright shiny fields making power for our homes, offices, shops and factories and there are bound to be objections from wild life enthusiasts (doubtless a few great crested newts will miraculously appear on any site deemed suitable and available for the project).
However, this surely is going to be a case of the greater good. We already know that there is a world energy shortage caused by a combination of industry coming back to life after the worst of the pandemic, and some major producers, such as Russia, declining to increase production. Add to that the refusal of the relevant authority to grant licenses for some oil companies to open up new North Sea gas resources and it is possible to see why prices for oil and gas are rising and beginning to be reflected in our household bills and warnings of winter power cuts.
The green lobby, of course, would probably be entirely happy to don three extra layers of hand-spun sackcloth during the coldest weather and use Victorian tallow to light our homes. Most of us, however, would not – particularly the elderly and others not in good health.
To sacrifice some of the many thousand acres of marsh to secure a continuity of supply would seem to be a small price to pay and if further clean energy generators such as the ‘mini’ nuclear power plant currently being championed for Dungeness by its local MP and possibly tidal generators (although full development of this technology has some way to go), not only would Rye and the surrounding area have a secure source of supply, but our little corner of Sussex (with a bit of Kent) could be a serious contributor to the zero carbon agenda.
Image Credits: Wikipedia .