Filling the UK Energy Gap

BVAA an ‘Exceptional Example of Good Practice’

Welcome to Issue 5 of BVAA’s Valve User magazine! It is my great pleasure to announce that BVAA has recently been selected for inclusion in the Institute of Association Management’s "Good Practice Champions" report. The report seeks to highlight and recognize ‘exceptional examples of good practice in association management’, to act as an example and inspiration to other associations. The report features BVAA in two categories - "Membership" (development) based upon our 65% increase in membership in three years, and "Creating New Services" (relating to the launch of our very own Valve User magazine).

Praise by one’s peers is praise indeed and we are delighted that the energy and achievements of
all those involved at BVAA have been recognized.

Speaking of ‘energy,’ we are casting an eye towards some of the alternatives solutions that may shape our future. Here in the UK we have what is described as a ‘wind rich’ environment. However the UK has just a handful of wind farms and thus has yet to sufficiently harness this ‘free’ resource to make a significant contribution to our growing energy needs. As for solar power [see cover], there will need to be significant additional global warming before this ever becomes a realistic prospect in rain-lashed Britain!

The New Year has however already heralded two very significant developments in the field of UK energy.

The first concerns the possibility of the first new coal-powered power station to be built in the UK for decades. Approval for a new ‘clean coal’ plant at Kingsnorth, Kent, moved a step closer in January with the local council approving EON’s proposed development. This must seem very insignificant to our readers whose Government’s have more enlightened energy plans, but in the UK this is ‘hot news’ as our last new build was 24 years ago, and even that was in Northern Ireland! Several other high-technology coal plants are said to be planned for the UK in the coming years. The UK Government now has the lead in deciding the future of all these plants - let’s hope they get on with it.

Secondly, the UK Government - at last - gave approval for the building of new ‘Nuclear’ power stations in the UK.* There will not be any Government funding for any such plants however - highly relevant when it is known that no nuclear power station has ever been built without such support. Energy supplier EDF has manfully stepped into the breach however and immediately announced plans for four new nuclear plants in the UK, hopefully coming on-line some time around 2017. EON and Centrica are rumoured to have similar plans for new builds. It is thought these will all be built on existing nuclear sites in England and Wales. There will, of course, be the usual legal challenges, but it’s worth noting that by 2020 the UK energy scene will be nearly bereft of serviceable nuclear power stations due to scheduled closures, with many of our existing coal plants going the same way. With a third of all UK power stations nearing the end of their useful life, there’s not much time for procrastination.

Finally, let’s not forget the role of traditional and much-maligned coal-fired power stations. BVAA recently visited the Ratcliffe-on-Soar site, whose total life-span is now estimated at 65 years, where 80% of the fuel comes from job-creating UK coal mines, and where virtually every by-product is recycled and then utilized - in the millions of tonnes - by the construction and civil engineering industries. Now that is impressive.

*Editor’s Note: BVAA played a role in appraising the UK Government’s advisors as to the nuclear capability in the UK valve industry, and we would be delighted to discuss future valve requirements with any of the contractors and operators involved.

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 5

Summer 2020 // Issue 53
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