THE energy sector has never had so much variety to contend with - from traditional generation systems such as gas, coal and nuclear to more recent forms like hydro, wind and solar.

And it is perhaps fair to say that none of them can claim to be universally popular.

Coal generation is obviously bad for the carbon emissions; gas is cleaner but will be strongly objected to if it involves the controversial fracking process; while wind involves unsightly turbines on the landscape and solar, ditto.

Even hydro has its detractors because it involves constructing dams and other associated structures in beautiful locations, using carbon-unfriendly steel and concrete.

But we obviously need energy, so what’s the best way forward?

Well, that was once thought to be wind power, but its expansion in places like Cumbria has been stunted over ‘blot on the landscape’ concerns.

How about solar power? Although we don’t get guaranteed sunshine, it seems our farmland is ideal for such voltaic arrays, judging by the number of planning applications currently in the pipeline.

But these are raising fears over ‘industrialisation’ of the landscape. Meanwhile, gas generation is likely to remain a key part of the mix. Over in Furness, the possibility of fracking for shale gas, which could solve Britain’s power problems for decades, has been raised this week. Fears over water contamination and the increased potential for earthquakes will doubtless feature among the key objections to this.

And so, too, will nuclear. The new Moorside power plant will generate clean energy but only by leaving a dirty legacy.

Groups like Radiation Free Lakeland obviously don’t like this and will certainly keep fighting any nuclear waste dumping proposals underneath the Cumbrian landscape.

Where does all this leave us?

The fact is we have to have energy and the most sensible way forward is to have a sensible mix of all the above, even if that sometimes compromises our views or stokes our fears.