Look­ing at the big­ger pic­ture of al­ter­na­tive energy

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

ALTHOUGH there have been falls this year in global oil prices, there is still much dis­cus­sion about the sus­tain­abil­ity of our energy sources, this coun­try’s ca­pac­ity to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity and how much energy we are im­port­ing as a na­tion.

Re­cently I have been talk­ing to two lo­cal com­pa­nies who are in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­ter­na­tives to tra­di­tional energy sources.

It has been in­ter­est­ing to lis­ten to their per­spec­tives, par­tic­u­larly since one of the bills to be de­bated in Par­lia­ment this ses­sion is one on energy se­cu­rity and to es­tab­lish an Oil and Gas Au­thor­ity.

When I vis­ited Bio Global’s energy crop plan­ta­tion at Ash­eridge, near Che­sham, I was very in­ter­ested to hear all that they are do­ing to de­velop al­ter­na­tive and sus­tain­able energy sources from plant­based ma­te­ri­als.

When we think about the Chilterns in the past, the fur­ni­ture in­dus­try of course was us­ing sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als which were grown lo­cally, and the Chiltern woodlands would also have pro­duced fire­wood to heat peo­ple’s homes, in the form of log fires! Trans­form that with 21st cen­tury tech­nol­ogy and there are biomass boil­ers us­ing wood­chip pel­lets which can heat the mod­ern home or busi­ness premises.

What I par­tic­u­larly liked about what Bio Global in­dus­tries are do­ing is the fact that their crops will be at­trac­tive to in­sects, be­cause any­thing that can be done to help sup­port bio­di­ver­sity is very im­por­tant.

Re­cently I have also asked the House of Com­mons to con­sider the work of Zero-m, a com­pany based in my con­stituency which is work­ing on de­vel­op­ing aqua methanol.

This is a new diesel sub­sti­tute which could play a po­ten­tially vi­tal role in re­duc­ing diesel ex­haust pol­lu­tion. Good air qual­ity is vi­tal for all of us in terms of health.

To make the change from con­ven­tional diesel to the new sub­sti­tute, the tax regime needs to be re­vis­ited. Changes were pro­posed in the Bud­get in March, but the Op­po­si­tion dug in their toes at the last minute and would not give their sup­port. Now we have a fresh Bud­get tak­ing place on July 8, I hope this might hap­pen.

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