Skills and Funding Vital for UK’s Energy Future

A report commissioned by the Institute of Physics highlights the UK’s lack of general technical skills as well as more specialized skills, factors that will interfere with Britain’s ability to both reduce carbon dioxide emissions and create a sustainable mix of clean, safe energy.

The report, “The Role of Physics in Renewable Energy RD&D” by Future Energy Solutions, is a result of a multidisciplinary meeting between 150 scientific, technical, economic and sociological experts, concluding that nuclear fission is a proven and reliable technology that will inevitably have a key role in a future clean energy mix. It also said that renewable energy sources will play a growing role in the energy mix, but need continued support in development and deployment if they are to match the cost levels of conventional systems. The Institute of Physics believes that the UK will be able to meet its ambitious energy targets only with the Government’s support of research and development in new energy technologies such as renewables and fusion, and by addressing the shortage of specialist skills in key areas. Dr Robert Kirby-Harris, chief executive of the Institute of Physics, said the UK needs “a major push to attract more students into essential subjects such as physics. Physics is essential to many of the new technologies, such as solar and wave power, which will help us produce clean energy in the future.” Earlier this month, an independent report revealed that the UK lacks the necessary skills to achieve the Government’s target of producing 10 per cent of our electricity from renewables by 2010 (
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