Thursday, 26 August 2010

Making a success of the Energy Island concept

Underwater turbines
There was some good news for Anglesey's Energy Island project earlier this week when developers unveiled a £70m project to generate electricity with seven underwater turbines between the Skerries and Carmel Head. The advantages of underwater turbines is that unlike wind turbines  they are constantly generating power due to the movement of tide, and that they have only a small visual footprint. A two day exhibition was held earlier this week at Holyhead Town Hall, and the project will apparently be submitted for offshore planning approval to the Welsh Assembly Government next month. If all goes well, commissioning could begin as early as 2013-14.

Personally I believe that the Energy Island concept to be exceptionally promising. It combines great ambition with an understanding of Anglesey's unique resources. I'm sure there are many councils up and down the country which would love to have a similarly coherent economic development strategy. However, I do also have some reservations:

  • Energy projects, whether they be nuclear, tidal or otherwise, can only be realised by very large firms. Accordingly the council's Economic Development unit, in its enthusiasm for grand schemes, must take exceptional care to not inadvertently neglect nurturing and promoting the Island's indigenous small businesses -- of all kinds, energy-related or not. Following the loss of Anglesey Aluminium, we know the ill effects of putting too many eggs into one basket.
  • For the Energy Island concept to be a full success Anglesey must become an originator of energy technology -- not just a destination for off-island companies to place various schemes (the marine turbines we discussed above are a good example of this as MCT's R&D centre is actually based in Bristol). Accordingly the council must work to incubate Anglesey-based energy start-ups. The only way to do this would be to work with local research centres, such as Bangor University, to develop some kind of Energy Science Park located, for example, next to Wylfa. I would further suggest that using the "Shell Fund" to provide "seed money" for such start ups would be a far more productive use of the money then purely funnelling the majority of it into Oriel Môn each year.
  • Finally the council must not approve all energy-related projects willy-nilly. The decision to site a biodigester in Bodffordd is a good example of the council falling over itself to be seen to furthering the Energy Island agenda without properly considering whether Bodffordd really was the most suitable location for that particular development.


Anonymous said...

The Shell Money is being poured away not to help the people, but to provide Art, so the next time you moan about there being no jobs, go to Oriel Mon and look at the pictures, then weep!

This is where the People's Money went, this is where the Shell Fund was wasted.

Old Mona said...

You are spot on with your analysis.It will not benefit Anglesey unless we can provide services and possibly manufacturing facilities on the island and this will take time. I have always thought that tidal power is far better than wind power because the tide is constant whereas wind is not.

Prometheuswrites said...

I've thought that providing small domestic wind & solar generators on a per household basis would generate a huge amount of power and make electricity and money for all of us as producers, plus generate jobs for the installers. All that remains is get the manufacturing/assembly of units organised on an industrial basis, rather than buying in the labour, parts and skills from outside the area.

I notice that on the recent Ynys Mon newletter that IOACC are trumpeting their solar panel installations at a couple of selected housing estates, so maybe we can hope that IOACC economic department has the foresight/balls to extend this idea to each and everyone of us.

If Ynys MOn could become a net renewable energy exporter then that would be a giant step forward for our island. (especially if that energy production was in the collective hands of us all - however as Druid says large scale production tends to be restricted to mega-corps' ltd or financial shell companies)

Anonymous said...

Get the chinese involved they are not just for the occassional banquet or portion of fried rice, I reckon Albert Owen should have flown over to China and asked them to come over to invest in our Island and make it the envy of Britain...while your there Albert how about bringing me back some nice crispy duck?

Dyfed said...

I share your mixed feeling about these big projects. Whilst they are very welcome, they should be depended on.

I don't agree with your views on the Shell fund being wasted on Oriel Ynys Món, however. This provides somewhere for tourists to go in poor weather and is therefore an essential aspect of the tourist industry - a sector that is domnated by small businesses.

Anonymous said...

So the Oriel is for the tourists, who are here for 2 weeks in the summer, the other 50 weeks they are all back from wherever they came from, while the Oriel stays empty, and we all look for jobs, thank you, my faith in selfishness has not been wasted, we want JOBS not pictures!

Anonymous said...

Woah there Hoss! The Shell Money was taken from Amlwch, then it was wasted on schemes that turned out to be white elephants, while the people of Amlwch whinge and mourn the loss of the Shell Money, Anglesey County Council invest it in futile projects that have NOT helped the local people get jobs, but have used the Shell Money to oppress the people of Amlwch, by rubbing their noses in it, and the fact is simple, the Shell Money belonged to Amlwch, but was TAKEN by force to Llangefni to be WASTED on visitors but not INVESTORS.

Anonymous said...

Shell Money, what Shell Money? there never was any Shell Money!

Anonymous said...

These under-water turbines - if any of you care to check and confirm for yourselves - only generate electricity for 18 hours out of 24. During tidal slack they produce nothing and as a result you still need all the other power stations to cover that period. Those power stations in turn - for efficiency - have to remain running 24 hours a day as ramping them up and down produces more carbon than just having them running non-stop.

The 'green issues' aside, I would love it that these would create jobs here on Anglesey but the predicted build period for the project means that they will be imported from elsewhere because if they were to be built here the factory would have needed to have been built, staffed and be up and running already by now. Likewise servicing and day-to-day maintainance - that will almost certainly be carried out by the complex down at Mostyn which already does the out-at-sea windfarms. Which is a shame because Amlwch would have been ideal and would have brought much needed activity to an area really suffering on a micro scale.

For God's sake. We need something like a car assembly plant built on the Tinto site that wil provide a thousand jobs on a decent wage.

PS - Any bets the figure of jobs to be created will be 400? It's always 400. There's been that many '400 jobs' schemes over the last decade that I am surprised there's anyone unemployed.

The Red Flag said...

.....and any energy park should not be built near Wylfa (as suggested in the article) - it should be built in the centre of the island and near rteh A55 so that it is accesible to employees from all over the island and supported by decent bus services from the main population centres.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Red Flag - I don't really mind where it is located, but I would prefer that it realisation was part of the Energy Island plan.

The Red Flag said...

It's vitally important I feel Druid that people are not excluded from employment because it's either the other side of the island or there are no decent affordable public transport links. Most of the jobs on the island pay less than 15K gross - car ownership to commute is not affordable (nor in these green times desirable).

I am a firm believer that the island needs some sort of circular light rail system similar to the Manchester Metro linking Holyhead to Amlwch to Llangefni to Menai to Newborough to LPG then up the rail line back to Holyhead. Priced similatrly to the Manchester Metro would see a fare from Llangefni to Holyhead being £2. (yes the Metro is that cheap)

All this 'green' stuff is all well and good but pretty pointless unless you get people out of cars and into mass transport, possibly electrified, possibly fuelled by local schemes such as this.

I could go further. I am also a firm supporter of Anglesey Council charging a toll of £1 to every vehicle entering the island and £5 for each HGV. (Gwynedd can do the same going the other way if they wish). Cheaper than the Mersey Tunnel or the Severn Bridge and nobody stopped using them and at that price it will not discourage ferry traffic either.

Prometheuswrites said...


Yes you are of course correct about the tidal slacks.

But the main point is that it is ~18 hours generation each and every day, so doesn't matter if the island is becalmed and/or overcast for days (like wind and solar).

One of the points about using the Dinorwic pumped storage generator would be to release 'stored' energy back during the slacks.

Plus the tides advance by about an hour a day, which makes the whole thing quite entertaining to figure out when max power generation is taking place.

oh ... and I don't think this would be the sole means of generating electricity - would probably be best used in conjunction with other renewables.

And yes .... manufacturing on the island would have been nice - and still is possible for other future projects both here and further afield ... if economic development dept can take the plunge and channel investment to where its needed.

Anonymous said...

I see the Shell Fund topic was dropped like a bombshell by bloggers from outside Amlwch.

The Red Flag said...

@Prometheuswrites said...

I think the point the Anon of 14:05 is making is that because you have to have the other means of generation on-line, and they have to be upo and running (and staffed) 24 hours a day, is their any point to these under water turbines at all?

The Red Flag said...

@Anonymous said...18:16

I think you are reading iot wrongly. I think you'll find most people agree that the Shell money belongs to the people of Amlwch and should be invested in their area.

Anonymous said...

The biggest rio off that ever happened in Anglesey was the Shell Fund that was grasped away from the people of Amlwch and taken to the kremlin were it was squandered on projects that were created to satisfy the lust of the stupid and powerful to the detriment of the poor, the needy and the unemployed.

There was no Shell Fund, there was no Off shore Oil Terminal in Amlwch, this will be their response in the future, unless we give them that have taken the money this message.
" We want our money BACK!"

Anonymous said...

It's not Amlwch's money, it belongs to the whole of Anglesey, the Oil terminal was built then it was binned. It didn'r work so as compensation for wasting people's time, Shell made a donation of a few thousand pounds to Anglesey Council.

The money was given to the Council to build a golf course, art gallery and to do up the MPs office in Holyhead. The money was not siphoned off and stashed away in the Isle of Man, the money was not lent out to Councillors as a means to borrow money, interest free,for funding for building work and starting businesses up, the money was not used for councillors to build themselves a housing portfolio, it was not used for councillors to build log cabin sites, it is unfair for the people of Amlwch to moan and groan about the Shell Money when it doesn't exist( any more)

Blin o Fon said...

OK, What do we say about 12m high domestic or farm wind turbines in the windy places in Anglesey...they work well... do we support them in principle, visually...would we object to a planning application to erect one in a field near us....think about this....are we NIMBy`s, or are we not. Lets make up our minds ?

Anonymous said...

If there's any Shell Money left, I am referring to the possibility that there maybe a few pounds, it may be enough to put a letter together with a stamp and ask someone from Shell to put the details of the money on here. Druid, you managed to speak to Albert Owen and the manifesto of the people, how about that for a challenge?

Anonymous said...

Letter to Shell.

Dear Shell,

Amlwch Oil Terminal, money? How much?
yours sincerely

Anonymous said...

The letter should be addressed to the Treasurer of the Anglesey Charitable Trust, namely Mr Ellis Williams, the County Treasurer.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon - that is easily achieved. Indeed the information you require has been in the 'Library' section of this blog for some time. Please see:

Anonymous said...

Write to Shell, druid, let's get the truth out from Shell and ignore the spin from the kremlin, get the shell people involved, public money given to the people of Amlwch demands public protection, the kremlin does NOT protect the public it takes away from the people.
Have we got a ticking timebomb here??

Anonymous said...

You don't actually believe the spin from the kremlin do you druid, get the truth from Shell, they will tell the truth, I think they will find it hard to swallow when the people of Amlwch realise how they have been conned.
I think the reason the Oil Terminal was closed before it opened is because it had an enforcement notice.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shell

Amlwch Oil Terminal

money, how much?

Anonymous said...

Druid you will lose credibity in the eyes of the people of Anglesey if you fold and refuse to investigate this issue. May I suggest that you contact Shell as a way forward, people refuse to believe anything from Llangefni or any politician, they need to know, the truth.

Prometheuswrites said...

Red Flag:

I'm sorry, I don't understand what your saying there.

Please could you explain it again?

Underwater turbines will generate jobs as well as electricity as maintenance for marine installation is more intensive than that of land based alternatives - but I'm not sure I'm on the right track here - I think I've missed something.

Mr Shell Fund: it would appear that the Shell fund/Isle of Anglesey Charitable Trust made grants worth nearly £400,000 to a variety of organisations across Anglesey.

... And there was I thinking that the accounts hadn't been filed for the last couple of years, (as of the last time I looked for them0.

Anonymous said...

With the "fund" ploughed into Oriel Mon does Oriel Mon make any money, just out of curiousity or is it another white elephant

Anonymous said...

£270k a year for Oriel Mon and £114k shared between thirty three other bodies is a disgrace.
What sort of a building is it that it needs so much money to keep it open.


Anonymous said...

This Fund should had been used to encourage training and enterprise for the young and not to feed the ideas of the foolhardy and ignorant. We have allowed this to happen, we have only ourselves to blame, they humiliate us all with their stupid ideas.

The Shell Fund is OUR Money! said...

"This is where the People's Money went, this is where the Shell Fund was wasted."

Just back from travels, and delighted to see energy back on the agenda! I like the turbines, but the location is extremely unfortunate in terms of the outstanding natural beauty of the area. What Anglesey gets is not very much from this, very small development. As Druid says, what we need to do is devleop, design, build these things, to create quality jobs in a growing sector.

The Isle of Anglesey [Shell] Charitable Trust. Oh dear! 70.3% of all donations over £1000 last accounts (they have been very , very late for the past few years) went to Oriel Mon. It's a great place, but also a Council owned and run facility. Not everyone thinks it's a good use of our money. They have, for many years, been happily giving away our money to themselves. 'Ah, but there's accountability via your Councillor', they say. On paper, yes, but have you ever had a Councillor round of an evening, prior to any Shell fund meeting, to ask you what you think? No! My experience is that, if you dare put forward your own views, you get two types of response: (1) none and (2) a concerted effort to belittle the person for holding any view that isn't the Council's.

To add to the insult, the Council has presided over two sustained periods when the Rhosgoch site has been criminally (in the true legal sense)plundered. Firstly for metal and staggering quantities of aggregate, and secondly, years after the first police investigation, another period of stealing railway iron and timber sleepers.

And they try to say that somehow, they are competent? This is the fanatasy world we have to demolish on this island. The sooner, the better.

If anyone wants to have any FoIA information about the Shell fund, let me know - I have lots!

The Great Councillini said...

"Shell Money belonged to Amlwch, but was TAKEN by force to Llangefni to be WASTED on visitors but not INVESTORS."

This is a common mistake. The precise terms used in the agreement made between Shell and the (then) Anglesey Borough Council, dated 10th February, 1987, is as follows, and clearly says it is for the Anglesey community as a whole, not any one part of it:

"Shell has recognised a special relationship with the people of Anglesey and has intimated that if the plans for withdrawal proceed in full accordance with this Agreement and the Council fully complies with its obligations in Clause 8 hereof then Shell shall give to the community a substantial memento which, when added to the agreed £200,000 value of the land [now about £2 million] which will be transferred to the Council and to the payment referred to in Cluase 4 hereof, will increase the eventual aggregate of the payments and assets made or transferred to the Council to a figure of £7,000,000."

You will be relieved to know that, as the credit crunch unfolded, it took nearly a year after the first obvious signs of economic collapse emerged for some (and not by any means all) the Councillors to get together to discuss where there money was going - which was downwards at a very rapid rate.

Competent? Don't make me laugh.

The Red Flag said...

@Prometheuswrites said...

I think what the Anon poster was saying was that the turbines were pointless if you had to keep the more traditional means of generation fully operational and fully staffed. To expand Anon's argument further (if I'm reading it right), being as there will be no more subsidies then the cost of building something that's pointless has to be passed on to the consumer in higher bills.

The Great Councillini said...

Red Flag. I take your point, but I don't think a lot of very relevant factors are taken into account when these debates break out:

(1) All countries need as many different forms of generation as they can economically sustain. This is to reduce reliance on any one fuel, which includes uranium, geopolitical region and so on that can bring price hikes, supply disruptions, political power games and so on. So far, no 'red communist' can turn off the wind or tides. A good supply mix is the way to go. I don't like coal, but it is an option for now, but one that, sadly, Thatcher ensured we couldn't use when she demolished the UK industry, allowing viable mines to flood and economically and technically impossible to use in future.

(2) Most renewable technologies are still at embryonic stages of development. Wind is probably the most well-understood and widely deployed for commercial use, but the others are rapidly changing, getting cheaper, more efficient. We really must avoid seeing today's technologies as the way things will work in the future; the sources will be the same, but we'll be much better at extracting the energy available.

The Red Flag said...

TGC - read about the Danes with regard to wind. They are now scaling back their wind operation cancelling proposed new builds and running down existing ones and building more coal, gas and oil stations. They now regard it as a very expensive failure. It's a very sad story but it got to a stage where they were producing more carbon having the wind farms because they were continually having to crank-up the traditional stations to cover when the wind wasn't right and continually running the traditional power stations up and down produces more carbon than just having them on 100% of the time. Having the wind farms made them more polluting and less likely to achieve their EU carbon targets bizarrely. Then when the wind is right, they have to pay the Swedes (yes pay them) to take the surplus generated. They've decided to cut their loses in that area now and slowly scale it back through cancellations and non-replacement.Not one conventional power plant has been closed in the period that Danish wind farms have been developed. In fact, the Danish grid uses 50% more coal-generated electricity than in 2005 to cover wind’s failings. The quick ramping up and down of those plants has increased their pollution and carbon dioxide output – carbon emissions are 36% higher than 2005. As a result if the windfarms the Danes have the most expensive electricity in Europe not just price-wise but more importantly in comparison to earnings. They also estimate that the subsidies given to the industry have actually lowered their GDP.

Although - luckily for ourselves and others - they intend to keep building the stuff for export basically because so many of their workers rely on the jobs.

Even Greenpeace is now more of the opinion that the main way ahead is to make people and industry use substantially less so the need for power generation reduces.

Prometheuswrites said...

That's what I was trying to say about tidal power generation.

It's a 100% predictable (give or take a couple of % for spring and neap times) and gives power twice a day every day; and for us in North Wales is storable via Dinorwic.

(Though the Physic's A level book I've looked at shows a 2:1 ratio in converting kinetic to potential energy, so at a loss ... but a stored loss, not a total loss ..... mind you the same book tells me that the moon is 1/400th of the size of the Earth ... out by a factor of nearly 100 .... what are we teaching the kids nowadays!?) blah, blah, blah.

PromoW said...

PS. The water turbines are underwater. There may be a small bit of supporting superstructure above the waves, but nothing in comparison to the more sporadic water and land based windmills.

The Red Flag said...

The most efficient place to stick something connected to tidal power around here is Menai Straits where there is a constant flow and because of the channeling effect on the current of the geography the dead zone at low and high are literally minutes long before the current is flowing fast enough again to generate. The current technology already exists to do build a dam across the tidal flow (such as inbetween the arches on the Britannia Bridge) and treat the tide like a mini reservoir that changes direction every so many hours.

The Red Flag said...

Oh and when I mean between the arches I don't mean build up, I mean channel down so it's sub-surface

TGC said...

Red Flag,

Thanks for that really informative post. I worked in Denmark for a while, when wind was but a glint in our country's eyes. It was inspirational at the time.

I suppose it's more attractive for industry (and the economy) to look at carbon capture and such like to keep Gigawatts flowing reliably, and run the risk of political instability in the source countries. One day, either for lack of any more coal and oil (a very long way off, although not if China keeps growing at its present rate - ships actually queue in Australia, tens at a time, waiting for coal loads), or for a climate gone out of control, the Danes and everyone else will have to come back to a sustainable way of power generation.

The 'towers' or piers with the marine turbines are not quite as subtle as you might think - there are nine of them, and each reaches 9 metres (about 30 feet) above the sea. Tellingly, the company didn't present any graphic representation of how that would look in practice. Personally, I'd rather see tidal deployed in the Menai Strait, but others will have plenty of objections to that (it's been an idea going nowhere for a very long time).

The Red Flag said...

TGC "it's been an idea going nowhere for a very long time"

It has indeed and what's more to the point the technology already exists, is in use in other parts of the world and is proven.

Most of these other schemes - such as wind farms, underwater turbines etc are actually a sham and are used by the generating companies to avoid punitive levies if they do not meet government targets (ahhhh, yes. The old 'targets' game - not real efficiency, targets. NHS anyone?) and also to gain subsidies and tax-breaks (in effect we the consumer are paying them). A classic example is the Icelandic offer some years back to install - at their expense - a low voltage sub-sea cable and provide Scotland with dirt cheap power from their geo-thermal project. Approved by the Scottish Parliament, vetoed in Westminster afetr intense lobbying by the power companies scared they would lose all the subsidies for building windfarms that would no longer be of any uise at all.

Professor Philip Stott University of London ( states "Climate will continue to change catastrophically, gradually and unpredictably irrespective (of Kyoto). We fool ourselves by thinking we can halt climate change by fiddling with one or two politically selected variables".

As a mot point, 95% of the 'greenhouse' atmospheric layer is water vapour, 3% CO2, 2 % other things. Of that 3% CO2 in turn less than 3% of that originates fromman's activities. 3% of 3%? not much really.

The cost of Kyoto? 350BN - enough to wipe out the debt of the 49 poorest countries and provide clean drinking water for the planet. (Lancet)

Another thing with windfarms is 'load factors'. The percentage 'load factor' in the UK was declared 'Confidential' by the government in 1998 and has remained so ever since however prior to then it averaged a lowly 24%.

In the medium term there is only one option - unpalatable as it is, and that's nuclear. Hopefully in the long term they will perfect fusion then we are quids-in and the planets energy needs can then be met cheaply, plentifully and cleanly.

But all these windfarms, tidal barriers etc etc - just glorified tax dodges subsuidised by the tax payer and the domestic consumer.

Mesosphere Man said...

"Of that 3% CO2 in turn less than 3% of that originates fromman's activities. 3% of 3%? not much really."

Yes, but the problem is, nobody really knows what the result of dumping 300 million years' worth of carbon accumulation in the space of maybe 200 years is going to be.

What is sad about media coverage of climate change is that the Precautionary Principle has been forgotten: if you don't know what might happen, and what happen might be disastrous, you'd better be very careful and maybe not do it.

Oh, you've forgotten methane in the 'greenhouse atmosphere'. You did mention water, but didn't say that this also increases dramatically as a product of burning oil (or anything at all). Methane has gone up by a factor of four since pre-industrial age levels. It's 25 times more effective at trapping heat than CO2 over a 100 year period (it's 72 times more effective over 20 years).

The danger is that the media and the skeptics are staring at CO2 whilst a tsunami of problems in the shape of other gases and their positive feedback mechanisms is rearing up behind them.

Nobody likes the bad news of human-induced climate change. But that doesn't mean it won't come to pass. Scientists, sadly, have come to be fearful of public backlash when they give an opinion.

Anonymous said...

The whole subject of 'emissions' is a total load of garbage. Can anyone tell me who actually assess the emission impact of each missle fire in raq or of the weaponry dropped in Afghanistan ?

The Red Flag said...

Mesosphere Man, the biggest source of Man-attributable methene is agriculture - in particular cattle. The biggest consumer of the products - both per capita and overall, are the Americans (or possibly Lord Prescot of Buffet). There is very little chance that the American populace are going to start driving smaller cars, shorter distances and less often. There is even less chance they will give up Big Macs.

Anon, the missiles dropped/fired onto Afghanistan and Iraq are probably carbon neutral as the lucky recipients of the deliveries usually cease exhaling. ( ;) )

Puck said...

So has anyone seen the film adaption of Cormac McCarthy's book 'The Road'?

Anonymous said...

Mesosphere Man and those who have the figures at their finger tips:

It is always good to see the figures quoted for the materials which adversely affect our planet. The senior politicians make big noises about OUR need to change.

It is now several years since the
"Shock and Awe" of Iraq added to which we have Afghamistan and other conflicts.

Would the data gathering greenies please advise the calculated effect from all the high explosives
and what decision goes into "shall we drop another one of not in case it affects the world"


Mesosphere Man said...

"Mesosphere Man, the biggest source of Man-attributable methene is agriculture - in particular cattle."

Indeed. That, and rice cultivation. But the important point is that about feedback mechanisms. Permafrost contains maybe 25% of the world's carbon sink, and much of that has warmed by about 2 degrees Celsius over the past 30 or so years. Once that gets just another degree or two warmer, the bacteria will start chomping away at it, releasing truly vast volumes of methane - and more climate warming.

Another vast source of methane is clathrates, spread over vast areas of the sea floor. Essentially rocks with pores full of methane (so long as the temperature is low enough), sea warming is already forecast to trigger release of the methane.

It's a little-by-little mechanism that will, in my view, lead to a very large effect by the end of my children's lifetimes. The tragedy is that we can avoid the risks, but industry and politicians (is there any difference?) will have none of it.

It's true to say humans have endured large climate swings in the past, when their ability to adapt was limited to moving to warmer places, or wearing more clothing. We have a better ability to adapt today, but that is not so for the hundreds of millions of people who live in lowland areas. It's not just the environmental change that must be feared, it's all the consequences - such as all those people looking for other places to live - that must also cause a distinct shuddering.

The Great Councillini said...

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the linguistic error in the Anglesey Energy Island/Ynys Ynni Mon logo?

Seems to me it ought to read:

Anglesey: Energy Island
Ynys Ynni: Mon

Or at least a more catchy:

Angelsey - Energy Island.

Maybe just another way to make us a laughing stock - Isle of Anglesey and all that...

The Red Flag said...

Mesosphere you are quite correct. As low-lying areas of the world flood their populations will move. The human race cannot cope with what's comoing and most have no concept of a life where most of the foodstuffs they take for granted are suddenly nno longer there because the areas of the world they come from need the food for their own populations.

It doesn't take much to cause it - just look at Russia having to ban grain exports because of the damge forest fires have done.

The Red Flag said...

Here's a very interesting and very thought-provoking article.

Prometheuswrites said...

Thanks for the link Red Flag.

very interesting and thought provoking - but I still have that old nagging worry about political will and the stranglehold of the petroleum based industries in the face of alternative energy sources.