The issue of funding needed to provide power to Oxfordshire’s many new developments is a sign that sustainable development comes at a price.

It would not have been difficult to see it coming. No more coal, no more gas while at the same time hundreds of thousand of new homes are being built and electric vehicles will replace traditional ones. What could possibly go wrong?

Wind turbines and other forms of sustainable energy seem like a no-brainer if you ignore the problems of their relatively short lifespan, their disposal and the heavy engineering in their manufacture.

As for relying on them when there is insufficient wind, did no-one think of that?

Electric vehicles will require a great deal of plant to be fitted into places never meant for it. And if the batteries are anything like those in a mobile phone, then we’ve got more problems ahead.

The reality of a sustainable future has good and bad points but it seems to have been sold to us as a dream when, in reality, there is an enormous elephant in this room – the cost. No-one knows how ground source heat pumps in homes will be funded but politicians simply look to some distant future where we live a green lifestyle without being honest and open about how we get there.

Last year, Ecotricity boss Dale Vince mentioned on national radio that he was investing in a plant in Reading where ordinary grass could be turned into gas. It sounded amazing and Thames Tap was quickly on the phone to the company.

Several phone calls and emails later (both to the company and the PR man’s mobile), we’d still had no response. Via old news stories and planning portals, we tracked down the location – a farm at Farley Hill.

There, the farmer declined to speak to us and referred us to Ecotricity. So can gas be made from grass? Is the Thames Valley the centre of a new form of energy? No-one will tell us.

But it wasn’t a total surprise. The sustainability agenda needs to be a lot more transparent. If we could all see the full profit and loss account for every green initiative then we could have faith that we know the score.

Without that, the concept will not take the population with it.

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