The Importance of Political Will

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Adam Barber
August 2, 2012
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This content is from our archive. Some formatting or links may be broken.
The Importance of Political Will

Prevention is better than a cure, reads the old adage. It’s an almost universal truth that should encourage policy makers to sit up and take stock of this week’s blackouts in India.

Couldn’t happen in Europe? Don’t be so sure.

Yes, in the case of India, there have been a number of political failures in addressing the country’s power needs over the past 10 years, but whilst India’s rapid urbanization has caused a unique headache, it has neglected to address the core issue at hand: the grid.

But that isn’t just an Indian problem, and unlike some editorial that has castigated India for failures in governance, it should be borne in mind that the Europeans are only just waking up to addressing the problem.

In the UK this week, the National Grid confirmed plans for a route to connect the wind farms of west Wales to central England.

And whilst additional capacity is to be welcomed, particularly from renewables, until it can be adequately distributed, broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions and provide energy security will be rendered meaningless.

And laudable moves to present the problem at an international scale – such as Friends of the Supergrid – continue to look abstract, pushing for an intangible ideal.

But along with pan-European renewable targets, a cohesive, international, smart grids are an essential part of the future energy space.

Before we look to blame India’s problems on a policy failure, or ascribe it to a set of problems unique to a rapidly emerging economy, we should heed the lessons of taking a piecemeal approach to grid infrastructure and development.

And perhaps more broadly, remember that while a diversified and balanced power portfolio for any aspirational economy remains key, without the political will and infrastructure to support it, it's dead in the water.

Prevention is better than a cure, reads the old adage. It’s an almost universal truth that should encourage policy makers to sit up and take stock of this week’s blackouts in India.

Couldn’t happen in Europe? Don’t be so sure.

Yes, in the case of India, there have been a number of political failures in addressing the country’s power needs over the past 10 years, but whilst India’s rapid urbanization has caused a unique headache, it has neglected to address the core issue at hand: the grid.

But that isn’t just an Indian problem, and unlike some editorial that has castigated India for failures in governance, it should be borne in mind that the Europeans are only just waking up to addressing the problem.

In the UK this week, the National Grid confirmed plans for a route to connect the wind farms of west Wales to central England.

And whilst additional capacity is to be welcomed, particularly from renewables, until it can be adequately distributed, broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions and provide energy security will be rendered meaningless.

And laudable moves to present the problem at an international scale – such as Friends of the Supergrid – continue to look abstract, pushing for an intangible ideal.

But along with pan-European renewable targets, a cohesive, international, smart grids are an essential part of the future energy space.

Before we look to blame India’s problems on a policy failure, or ascribe it to a set of problems unique to a rapidly emerging economy, we should heed the lessons of taking a piecemeal approach to grid infrastructure and development.

And perhaps more broadly, remember that while a diversified and balanced power portfolio for any aspirational economy remains key, without the political will and infrastructure to support it, it's dead in the water.

Prevention is better than a cure, reads the old adage. It’s an almost universal truth that should encourage policy makers to sit up and take stock of this week’s blackouts in India.

Couldn’t happen in Europe? Don’t be so sure.

Yes, in the case of India, there have been a number of political failures in addressing the country’s power needs over the past 10 years, but whilst India’s rapid urbanization has caused a unique headache, it has neglected to address the core issue at hand: the grid.

But that isn’t just an Indian problem, and unlike some editorial that has castigated India for failures in governance, it should be borne in mind that the Europeans are only just waking up to addressing the problem.

In the UK this week, the National Grid confirmed plans for a route to connect the wind farms of west Wales to central England.

And whilst additional capacity is to be welcomed, particularly from renewables, until it can be adequately distributed, broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions and provide energy security will be rendered meaningless.

And laudable moves to present the problem at an international scale – such as Friends of the Supergrid – continue to look abstract, pushing for an intangible ideal.

But along with pan-European renewable targets, a cohesive, international, smart grids are an essential part of the future energy space.

Before we look to blame India’s problems on a policy failure, or ascribe it to a set of problems unique to a rapidly emerging economy, we should heed the lessons of taking a piecemeal approach to grid infrastructure and development.

And perhaps more broadly, remember that while a diversified and balanced power portfolio for any aspirational economy remains key, without the political will and infrastructure to support it, it's dead in the water.

Prevention is better than a cure, reads the old adage. It’s an almost universal truth that should encourage policy makers to sit up and take stock of this week’s blackouts in India.

Couldn’t happen in Europe? Don’t be so sure.

Yes, in the case of India, there have been a number of political failures in addressing the country’s power needs over the past 10 years, but whilst India’s rapid urbanization has caused a unique headache, it has neglected to address the core issue at hand: the grid.

But that isn’t just an Indian problem, and unlike some editorial that has castigated India for failures in governance, it should be borne in mind that the Europeans are only just waking up to addressing the problem.

In the UK this week, the National Grid confirmed plans for a route to connect the wind farms of west Wales to central England.

And whilst additional capacity is to be welcomed, particularly from renewables, until it can be adequately distributed, broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions and provide energy security will be rendered meaningless.

And laudable moves to present the problem at an international scale – such as Friends of the Supergrid – continue to look abstract, pushing for an intangible ideal.

But along with pan-European renewable targets, a cohesive, international, smart grids are an essential part of the future energy space.

Before we look to blame India’s problems on a policy failure, or ascribe it to a set of problems unique to a rapidly emerging economy, we should heed the lessons of taking a piecemeal approach to grid infrastructure and development.

And perhaps more broadly, remember that while a diversified and balanced power portfolio for any aspirational economy remains key, without the political will and infrastructure to support it, it's dead in the water.

Prevention is better than a cure, reads the old adage. It’s an almost universal truth that should encourage policy makers to sit up and take stock of this week’s blackouts in India.

Couldn’t happen in Europe? Don’t be so sure.

Yes, in the case of India, there have been a number of political failures in addressing the country’s power needs over the past 10 years, but whilst India’s rapid urbanization has caused a unique headache, it has neglected to address the core issue at hand: the grid.

But that isn’t just an Indian problem, and unlike some editorial that has castigated India for failures in governance, it should be borne in mind that the Europeans are only just waking up to addressing the problem.

In the UK this week, the National Grid confirmed plans for a route to connect the wind farms of west Wales to central England.

And whilst additional capacity is to be welcomed, particularly from renewables, until it can be adequately distributed, broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions and provide energy security will be rendered meaningless.

And laudable moves to present the problem at an international scale – such as Friends of the Supergrid – continue to look abstract, pushing for an intangible ideal.

But along with pan-European renewable targets, a cohesive, international, smart grids are an essential part of the future energy space.

Before we look to blame India’s problems on a policy failure, or ascribe it to a set of problems unique to a rapidly emerging economy, we should heed the lessons of taking a piecemeal approach to grid infrastructure and development.

And perhaps more broadly, remember that while a diversified and balanced power portfolio for any aspirational economy remains key, without the political will and infrastructure to support it, it's dead in the water.

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Not a member yet?

Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.