Letter: More engineers required
22 October 2015
Sir, the comment by the UN scientist Jacquie McGlade, on the change in UK renewables policy illustrates yet again how badly engineers are needed in positions of similar responsibility to examine the feasibility of the scientific concepts and arguments that are now being put forward.
In this case the UK cannot rely on the variability of the collectable energy from existing forms of generation before energy storage methods become practical realities. Until then UK fossil fuel technologies and engineering skills have to be kept alive. At least the Government hasn’t taken the disastrous step of increasingly buying in energy from France and Russia, though it has probably finished off the UK atomic energy industry and skills by bringing in the Chinese. There are already huge security, and political dangers in buying in what we do, apart from the loss of yet another high tech design, analysis and skills tradition.
On the matter of energy storage, scientists are unlikely to develop the equipment and plant items. It will be engineers, as was true for instance with rockets, the science being understood more than a century before a practical reality that could reach the moon was developed. And this has proved to be neither so convenient nor so cheap as the scientists hoped.
Of course and also engineering minds are needed in the (UK) government departments that decide on policy changes, only to convince our governors of the infinitely preferable results of using modulating control rather than simple “on/off” control... even in economic matters.
Regards, John Moss
Consultant, Building Performance and Systems
13 Fitzroy Street London W1T 4BQ United Kingdom
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