Sitting down reading about storm Frank heading towards us makes grim reading – especially for those flooded already. Maybe those affected most are cheered up by Cameron’s visit, after all he said the current government will be spending £2.3bn on flood defenses. In ’08 after flooding in Cameron’s Oxford constituency he told parliament “Most people accept that, with climate change [floods] are likely to be more frequent”. But, there is a non-government, free solution to the problem and plight of those without electricity in flooded areas.
The government department responsible for flooding is the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. So armed with plenty of advance warnings on flooding; in ’12 government research declared flooding to be the greatest threat posed by climate change in England, you would naturally think they would do something about it wouldn’t you? They did. In May ’13 Owen Patterson (the then environment secretary) cut the number of officials on the national adaption programme – a group to determine what the government, businesses and society will do to cope with climate change, from 38 to 6. Following the ’12 report almost 300 of the proposed flood defenses have not gone ahead. Hinkley has gone ahead though, and HS2. Both will cost us pretty close to a hundred billion Pounds. Try as I might, it’s such a huge number I find it hard to get my head around – and this is just a first-guesstimate, we all know projects like these never run on budget. So it gives a clear indication our priorities are not the government’s.
Cameron proclaims [again – “There are always lessons to be learned and I will make sure they are learned”, Feb ’14 during the wettest English winter in 250 years], more money is being spent on flood defenses. However, the government’s own National Audit Office disagrees with him. The NAO says funding for flood defenses has fallen 10% in real terms when the £270m one-off emergency funding after the ’13-’14 winter is taken into account. This comes on the heels of the first year of the coalition government cutting capital spending on flood defenses by 27% year on year.
The point of this post is homes and businesses are often without electricity during floods, and the fact this one-in-a-hundred-year-event has happened twice in the past 3 years gives reason to believe it will happen again. Who can put a value on the misery this distress causes? Clearly for businesses it is easier as production losses are easily determined though reputational loss is harder to value.
Our practical solution is solar PV plus battery storage, sorry we cannot help stop the floods. Having this installed will give homes and businesses full energy security and once water has subsided they will be independently generating their own electricity. For homes and businesses not flooded but in an area without electricity they will remain unaffected throughout.
A simple do-it-ourselves practical solution for all homes without electricity (and not only from flooding, am thinking of the Grid warning on possible forthcoming winter electricity black-outs), and one which comes with no costs attached, just savings. Energy security is just a free added benefit. Maybe consider this as insurance but unlike flood insurance which comes with a hefty premium attached; if available at all, the premium for full energy security with us is zero.
North Star Solar Ltd