Home Blog energy policy Practical solutions not always what we need


Engineers provide society with practical solutions to its problems.

Want to move around quickly? Engineers invent bikes, cars and aircraft. Want to read or work at night or indoors… they invent electric lights. Want to stay cool in summer… they invent air-conditioning.

Typically engineers provide practical solutions to particular problems at particular moments and then try to sort out overlapping problems with new solutions. Engineering problems today mean more work for engineers tomorrow.

The invention of bikes, cars and aircraft very quickly caused the new problem of traffic congestion so other engineers developed road controls (intersections, traffic lights and radar systems).

The invention of electric lighting quickly caused the new problem of supplying energy in bulk so other engineers developed power stations and local and national electricity supply grid systems.

The popularity and spread of air-conditioning units quickly caused power shortages so other engineers developed energy control systems to cope with peaks and troughs in demand and (hopefully) make sure enough electricity is available for everyone’s demands all day and all night.

I hope you can see that these three isolated examples are united by one thread, and that’s commercial demand. None of those inventors and engineers worked for free and none of those solutions were developed for free. Everything costs something!

There are indeed engineers continuing to beaver away at the problem of energy security but those guys are focused on that single problem, not those other pesky problems of producing reliable renewable energy or of producing energy supplies which don’t harm our environment.

Those problems are being worked on by OTHER engineers who are not focused on providing energy security to the existing grid. I know because I’ve been an engineer and known other engineers all my career and I know how they work.

Engineers see these as separate problems, to be solved from separate buckets of money. Because everything costs something and no one works for free.

The problem of energy security is being worked on by the left hand, and the problem of renewable environmentally friendly energy is being worked on by the right hand.

For politicians to claim that the problem “provide energy security” is the same problem as “provide renewable energy” shows how little they understand how engineers work. Or they’re playing us for chumps. What do you think?