GW77 Feature
Steps to save energy can be simple, writes David Aherne
Do we really need more nuclear power stations producing electricity and dangerous nuclear waste, when we are wasting Megawatts (Mw) daily?

Almost every new electrical appliance we buy comes with a little transformer or transistorised power-pack, instead of a mains lead. The majority of these get plugged into inaccessible sockets behind television sets, tables, sideboards, sofas, etc. where they remain connected for life. Computers are even worse because once they have been shut down, most people don't turn them off or unplug them. Out of sight and out of mind they are still drawing massive amounts of current! Using a very sensitive measuring device I recently started testing nine transformers in my home and was astonished by the results.

My Toshiba laptop's power pack is very thirsty! Even when it's not plugged into the computer it draws 19.25 watts. When I plug it in and turn on the computer, it draws 37.5 watts. If we conservatively assume the transformers in every home in Britain are continuously drawing at least 60 watts and costing £70 per annum, but quite probably a lot more, times 26 million households equals 1,560 Megawatts (Mw) which is almost as much as one of the two proposed nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C Power Station, each of which will each generate 1,630 Mw and leave a toxic legacy for future generations to cope with. Germany, having found their supposedly safe storage of nuclear waste is actually leaking into the environment, is wisely phasing out nuclear power.

My internet is provided via a Virgin Media WiFi router consuming 10.5 watts when connected, but it was still drawing 8.5 watts when I unplugged the transformer from the router, which means the router itself only uses 2 watts of electricity, whilst the transformer is using eight and a half, which equates to almost 1.5 Kilowatt hours per week and costing me almost thirty pence a week on its own!

I have no figures for commercial users, but they almost certainly well exceed home users because in many offices and shops, computers, lights, tills and other electrical items are unnecessarily left on 24 hours a day.

Shockingly, David Cameron and President Nicolas Sarkozy have signed up to co-operate on developing nuclear energy, which is wholly unsustainable due to the problem of nuclear waste, which remains dangerous for thousands of years. David Cameron was pleased to announce that spending half-a-billion pounds on leaving future generations facing a lethal legacy of radioactive waste would create a mere 1,500 jobs, totally ignoring the many thousands of existing and potential ‘Green Jobs’ which have been lost as a direct result of misguided coalition legislation since the general election.

With resistance to wind farms, the Government are crazy not to invest in developing tidal generators. I have heard it said, that living on an island surrounded by ocean, properly harnessed tidal power alone could meet all of Britain's energy requirements and, unlike the wind, and as King Canute discovered, the tide never stops.
David Aherne is a writer, journalist and speaker. He was a founding member of the Green Party, having previously chaired Brighton & Hove Ecology Party after giving up his seat on Brighton Borough Council. He fought West Sussex in the 1984 European elections. He is the current co-ordinator of Worthing Green Party, a sustainability consultant to the meetings industry and Director of the European Convention Bureau. He fought Worthing West in the last General Election.
© 2012 Green World Contact GW