Hinkley Point

An open-air Sunday ‘church’ service on the sandy beach at Burnham-on-Sea on the north Somerset coast. It looks peaceful, but this is one of the most dangerous beaches in the UK, due to the huge tidal flux generated by the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary (the flux also creates the Severn Bore). People get stuck in the mudflats at low tide and hope to get rescued by the lifeguard patrol which operates here for the 5 months of summer.

The power the water movement generates could be harnessed to supply renewable electricity, possibly 5% of the UK’s electricity needs. The alternative is nuclear power. This is pertinent to Burnham because the Hinkley Point power plant is near here (it is white, and visible in the distance in the photo). The UK government has authorised a new–and hugely expensive in terms of build and feed-in tariffs–nuclear plant at Hinkley after a bidding process predicated on questionable economics and ethics. The government could spend this money more wisely on renewable energy and simple energy efficiencies, eg. making sure houses, schools, and other public buildings don’t waste energy staying warm in the UK’s damp, wet, often chilly climate.

I am not religious, but if the people attending that Sunday beach service were asking for Divine Intervention in UK energy policy, I happily send them my blessings.