Maizie Cast

Cheese enthusiast

FAQ: Is Britain running out of energy?

Global warming, harsh winters and the instability of energy supplies from around the world have contributed to the fear that Britain is running out of energy. Now a report from OFGEM suggests we will be facing power shortage risks by 2015. But how close are we to being in the dark?

Where does Britain’s energy come from?

Currently the countries energy supply is made up from Gas, nuclear and coal power stations as well as other renewable energies such as wind farming. Coal power stations make up 31%. However in order for the UK to reach its 80% decrease in carbon emmissions by 2020 many coal power stations have closed, including the iconic Didcot A power station.
There is also action to close all but one of the ageing nuclear power plants in the country by 2016, which currently attribute 19% of the energy supply, further pushing towards alternative fuels.
This action has led to a greater demand on the gas supply. Which there are fears that the country is unable to cope.

Image courtesy of  Howard Stanbury

Image courtesy of Howard Stanbury

What does a greater dependancy on gas mean?
In the recent years a greater reliance on Gas power has occurred due to it being ‘cleaner’ than coal. This will cause a greater dependance on Gas power stations. It is not certain that Britain can cope.
Britain currently produces a supply of gas that is boosted by imported supplies. The harsh winter has meant that the power stations have been running at overcapacity. During the most recent cold snap a tankers from Qatar had to be sent over in order to supply Britain’s energy demands.

There are conflicting views on whether the country will run out of gas. The fears have risen from the lack of gas storage in the country. The government were forced to release a statement in order to calm concerns surrounding the lack of security in the energy supply.


Supplier Norway expects to idle around 40 mcm of its offshore gas infrastructure for maintenance from April 1, piling further pressure on Britain’s gas market.

A core problem is that Britain has far less gas storage capacity than its peers – 15 days’ worth of demand when full versus more than 100 days’ worth in France and Germany.

“The lack of incentives for storage investment appears indicative of the UK’s wider gas sector, where investors currently see regulatory risk as an insurmountable hurdle,” said Roderick Bruce, analyst at IHS Global Insight.

What can be done?
The fear of rolling black outs harken back to a darker day that those born in the 70’s will remember. There is the need to sustain and conserve energy for as long as possible. However the inclement winters have left little choice than to turn up our heating.
A massive investment is needed into the creation of sustainable energy sources. Although unpopular, more wind farms will need to be created, supposedly the UK is the Saudi Arabia of wind. Surely if we have such a rich resources we should be capitalising on it?
It can be argued that there is a greater need for more work improving the waste caused by the generation of nuclear power. In order to make it a more environmentally safer option.

What does this mean for us?

It is unlikely that Britain will run out of energy. To truly run out of energy it would depend on the severity of the winter, the reserve gas supplies would have to be below 60% at the beginning of winter. It would take all the wrong circumstances to arise. However stranger things have happened.

It is very likely that the strain put on to the energy supplies will lead to price increases. Already gas customers are paying extra annually. With the pressure on the gas supplies this can only be seen to increase.
Whilst the demand for alternative energy remains our pockets will feel the effects.


Yearnin’ for some journing-alism

Leeds met are showcasing their off their journalistic talent. Head over to Journalism at Leeds Met, a culmination of the degree students hard work. Go show your support. 

For all you mothers out there.

I love my mother. I really do. I have no issue telling my mother that I love her, I tell her everyday. It may be that I tell her too often.
However I struggle to articulate how much I love her. It’s easy to tell your mother that you love her, but to truly quantify it on an a5 piece of cardboard is something that fills me with dread. The greeting card industry always leaves my sentiment feeling insincere.

My mother has given twenty one years of her life to raising me and how I have rewarded her?
Well, I do not have a drug dependancy and I have never had an unplanned pregnancy. I brush my teeth at least twice a day and I always leave the house with clean underwear on. I don’t swear unless in pain or I can guarantee I am not near children or the elderly. I am never not polite. I have all the necessary qualifications to make me employable. If you were to disregard my dysfunctional university lifestyle I am as well adjusted as possible. I have my mother to thank for the person I am today.

My maternal instinct is yet to kick in, my biological clock will start ticking when I stop acting like a child – not any time soon.
But if one day I decide that I want to make a little me, I want my mother to know that despite having me on a very short leash during my teenage years I would not raise my children in any other way. I will be a desperately over bearing parent, I will be embarrassing and make inappropriate jokes to my children’s teachers. I won’t want them going out on a school night and I will be suspicious of every text they receive. My child will resent me until it gets to a point in their life where they are able to reflect on what a good job that I have done for them. As much as my child will hate me I know that there will be a day that they will appreciate being told no, as it was only ever in their best interest.
I cannot promise grandchildren to my parents. If that day comes I know that my mum will be a wonderful grandmother. I want my child to feel the same love and care that I have from my grandmother. Surely that is the hidden benefit of raising a successful adult. Being able to lavish love and affection on a child without any guilt of spoiling and the fear of having to raise them right. A cheap baby sitter is a happy accident in the whole arrangement.

I am sure that most of the year you, like me, take for granted how much your mother does for you. So if you are lucky enough to be with your mother, give her a little cuddle. I’ll just be sitting here in a cold terrace house in Leeds dreaming about a roast dinner and being surrounded by the people I love the most.

Leeds politics. It’s a scary blogging world.

Do you know about the politics of Leeds? You might be aware of the nightlife, fashion and the culture but are you aware of what is happening in terms of politics? In truth I really do not know about the real political issues surrounding our area. But there are people that do, I have uncovered the best blogs to get you in the know and keep you up to date with the issues for Leeds. So let’s wade into Leeds.

Image courtesy of  risingfan

Image courtesy of risingfan

It would seem a natural place to begin with the MP’s of Leeds. Leeds is predominantly Labour led and the blogging world reflects this. Hilary Benn MP for central Leeds gives an account of his activities representing Leeds around the country. The content rich site is written with personality allowing an insight into what he is doing for us.
Rachael Reeves Labour member for West Leeds. Reeves’ pages may lack the personal touch of Hilary Benn’s site but still provides the necessary information to keep informed on our government representatives.

However well written the MP’s blogs may be it could be seen that they are not writing for their own agendas. It would be seen that a journalistic view is needed.

Rapidly becoming the authority in hyper local news the Leeds Citizen covers both light hearted and serious issues for the local area. Most significantly the Leeds citizen is bringing the information to you in unbiased manner. Not allowing any personal views to cloud the journalism. A Self proclaimed, “A minor irritant on the flesh of the body politic of Leeds”, the Leeds citizen is happily questioning issues that are not being spoken about elsewhere. Recently writing a great piece about the future of the West Park Centre it is evident that he has Leeds close to his heart. I recommend adding the blog to your reader as quickly as modern technology will allow not only for his political topics but to really get to know your city’s issues.

The world of politics can be a confusing place, unfortunately the Leeds blogging scene shows this. In order to have some balance in the Labour dominated webspace I have included Leeds Socialist Party and their student site. Allow some time tap into your inner activist. In a world where red tape dominates the Leeds socialists are demanding change, attacking international controversies that affect the residents of Leeds.

Getting saucy

Sat on my bed delirously hungover, I was fantasising about my imminent food delivery and I realised how I very much enjoy condiments. Yes Condiments. I could enthuse all day the nuances of mustards. Wax lyrical about what makes the perfect onion chutney. I challenge any meal not to be improved by  a generous addition of something ground, spooned or squeezed onto the plate.
Student eating can be so very dull. As the student loan dwindles every meal becomes carb heavy, and very cheese-centric. Splashing the last of your student loan on a few bottles of loveliness is really something you ought to do. If only to stop your tastebuds giving up entirely.

Image courtesy Kayd_23

Image courtesy Kayd_23

The necessity in my opinion can be shown in my new favourite eatery in Leeds, Red’s True BBQ. The meat delicious dishes are superb in their own right. But the team behind Red’s know that a tangy sauce will make their plates better. So much so that they have 5 sauces on the table ready to be lavished on to the tender meat. Unless you have an aversion to meat, I could not think of anything better.

I took a trip to Liverpool recently for a friends birthday. We visited a well known ‘gourmet’ pizza chain and my friend asked for BBQ sauce, ketchup or mayonnaise, clearly she was up for suggestions. My friend was met with a snide reply, “we do not have sauces like that here”. Whilst I agree her lasagne didn’t really need extra lubrication was it necessary to respond in such a condescending manner? Offer balsamic vinegar? Apologise that unfortunately that the restaurant does not hold sauces like that? Maybe the waitress should have connected that the diner was not really enjoying her meal. This was a simple request that turned into a issue with customer service. My what a sauce can do!

I am not advocating that Michelin star restaurant should have a plastic bottle of ketchup next to the glassware, heaven forbid! They employ a Saucier. That’s a dedicated sauce chef, someone is paid to make sure that the puddle on your plate is seasoned to perfection. It would be as insulting to the chef as adding salt to the plate before tasting. Cherish the flavour and savour the experience. But restauranteurs beware, if you are serving me chips, I expect an accoutrement.

A condiment is the spoonful of happiness that helps the horse meat go down.