Better energy infrastructure key to future
High energy costs have been blamed for the closure of the Michelin factory in Ballymena. The same energy drives our agriculture and processing, our heating and lighting, our healthcare, pharmaceuticals and emergency services, pumping water to our taps, transport, waste management and communications.
The Michelin factory is the canary in the mine for our way of life. So we have to rethink our economy and politics.
We have a communications and information network (the internet); a similar network is needed to connect all buildings and collect and distribute a digitalised, renewable energy infrastructure and re-power our economy. Electric vehicles, powered by the same smart grid, will also move the economy on.
We could be connected with Europe, distribute our excess wind energy and receive southern European solar energy. This is technically possible and financially valuable, with a network of co-operatives receiving green investment from the business sector.
This will be a safer investment plan than fracking, or nuclear power - both of which are temporary, because underground gas and uranium are finite and will eventually run out.
I believe this is the only way forward - decentralised energy - so, as in Germany, co-operatives' members actually get paid for energy, rather than paying increasing bills.