At Gorwel’s February meeting Professor Calvin Jones (Cardiff Business School) presented a talk entitled: ‘Energy, Competitiveness and Development in Wales’. The talk gave a pessimistic view of the potential energy crisis that would impact on the Western world in the near future. This included the various methods of power generation needed to keep the economy running. During the talk Professor Jones noted that despite reduced demand as a result of the 2008-13 recession, oil prices were still going up, to around three times what they were in the early 2000s. The result was that we were heading towards a situation described as ‘peak oil’ in which new discoveries of oil are failing to keep up with increased demand. There were no real alternatives to oil at the moment that are economically affordable.
Professor Jones then looked in particular at the energy situation in Wales and drew the audience’s attention to the fact that despite Wales being one of the UK’s poorest regions it was also one of the largest users of energy within its economic outputs. Making its socio-economic life very energy intensive.
None of the planned energy developments for Wales and the wider UK would be sufficient to help deal with the energy crisis noted Professor Jones. A lack of political foresight had also ensured that potential projects that could have helped ease the problems have suffered lengthy delays and often remain still in the planning stage. Professor Jones indicated that with the scale of the potential energy problem coming upon us so shortly only truly radical solutions would enable us to survive this impending crisis.