Huhne signals extension of Con-Lib energy policy folly

The Sunday Telegraph is among a number of media outlets carrying the frustrating and worrying news that Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, will this week pave the way for a controversial increase in wind turbines – wait or it – in a bid to protect Britain from a looming energy crisis!

If there is one thing guaranteed to precipitate an energy crisis for this country, it is the determination to squander taxpayers’ money on subsidies for wind powered electricity generation, despite evidence showing that carefully selected onshore windy areas where turbines have been put up, barely achieve 20% of the generation capacity they were built to deliver.  It is delusional of Huhne to suggest that Britain can be protected from a looming energy crisis by putting up even more wind turbines that have proved incredibly inefficient at generating power when it’s needed.

Due to its intermittent and variable nature and the propensity for the wind not to blow during times of peak demand (think back to the lack of wind during the bitingly cold winter), wind turbine generated power can never form the energy baseload required to underpin Britain’s electricity needs.  Yet it is the baseload capacity that requires replacement due to the age of the fossil fuel driven power stations and the government’s half baked, EU-driven Low Carbon Transition Plan.

The only stable and therefore reliable form of generating baseload electricity that isn’t fossil fuel based is nuclear power.  It should be a no brainer that this is where government should be devoting its financial resources.  But in a demonstration of ignorance and stunning arrogance in his Sunday Telegraph interview, Chris Huhne has declared that there will be “no money” for state subsidies for a new generation of nuclear power plants.  One can only question the mental state of man because such an approach could be catastrophic for this country.

To compound his idiocy, Huhne went on to praise electric cars, claiming that models such as the Tesla sports car, which goes from 0-60mph in under four seconds, showed that energy saving needs not hamper on-road performance.  Just where the extra electricity to meet the new and additional demand for power for such vehicles will come from, Huhne doesn’t say.  But you can guarantee his beloved wind turbines will fall well short of delivering the required capacity.

The fact is Huhne is a liar. He is just another political charlatan.  For him to declare that onshore wind turbines were “incredibly competitive” in producing electricity is an outright deception.  The generation figures show wind turbines are inefficient.  Added to that the cost to electricity consumers to support the wind turbine feed onto the grid make wind power far more expensive than coal or gas.  Renewables cost more.  When Huhne says:

“We have a tremendous natural resource in the Dogger Bank, which is an enormous shallow area of the North Sea, the same size as Wales.

“It’s relatively cheap to put wind turbines in that shallow area. It’s beautifully windy so it does actually produce a lot of electricity – that is a really important natural resource for us.”

he also omits to mention that offshore turbines are suffering from subsidence and sinking into the seabed and the cost of fixing the problem runs into tens of millions of pounds that will also be met through electricity bills.  So much for relatively cheap. Relative to what, exactly? If there is no government subsidy of nuclear energy then the costs of electricity consumers could more than double in a short space of time.  The investment required to keep the lights on, raised by energy companies on the markets alone, will prove astronomically expensive and be passed on in our energy bills.  Many millions more Britons will be consigned to real fuel poverty as a direct result of Lib Dem intransigence, climate change obsession and fantasy politics.

Huhne, like his boss Nick Clegg, is guilty of ignoring the reality of our situation and using energy policy as a poster boy for their greenwashing of society.  After all, Clegg says there is no looming energy gap in the first place and argues our energy problem is a lack of renewables in our energy mix.  Yet his and Huhne’s policy is to preside over a policy that will reduce the proportion of reliable energy sources in that mix.  It is truly the politics of insanity and we are about to become its victims – and all under a Conservative dominated government.

Update: EU Referendum has more on this supposed ‘march of progress’.

6 Responses to “Huhne signals extension of Con-Lib energy policy folly”

  1. 1 peejos 25/07/2010 at 2:39 pm

    If only somebody had the courage to reject the concept of CO2 generation by mankind as the potential for increased global warming then we could happily build coal fired power stations. Vast tracks of England overlay coal seams which with gasification schemes would last for centuries, giving us total energy security. The Chinese and Indians are wise enough to ignore the ‘green’ siren calls and weekly add to their stock of coal fired pwer stations. But when the prime minister reveals his utter ignorance of recent history, how can one expect him to have the simplest knowledge of science? Even if he could understand the concept; his fixation on retaining his role as occupier of No 10 requires that he embraces the barmier Lib Dem ideas.

  2. 2 Tufty 25/07/2010 at 8:34 pm

    I think the problem is mainly down to money. Our beliefs are dominated by those ideas with the greatest promotional spend. In the past, the greatest promotional spend came from organised religion, but now it tends to be government agencies, particularly transnational agencies such as those in the EU and UN.

    Planting windmills in the sea is obviously a stupid idea, but the stupidity is not obvious to those who don’t see the promotional angle. It should be the job of journalists to analyse this kind of thing and point out the stupidity of it. Checks and balances it used to be called.

  3. 3 27/07/2010 at 5:00 am

    This gas is delivered to homes to provide warmth. Many heaters, gas heaters free-standing, and kitchens using natural gas as fuel. The production of electricity with natural gas as the process used to generate electricity using coal. Can be used to heat water and produce steam, then water. The system is an effective method to produce electricity, but can be even more effective through the use of a combined cycle system.

  4. 4 Autonomous Mind 27/07/2010 at 9:49 am

    The gas going to gas fired power stations is not being pumped into houses via the Transco grid. Large quantities of the gas are being imported via the interconnector because our North Sea gas fields do not produce enough to meet our needs. Gas is an important part of the energy mix, as is coal, because it can quickly generate power if demand rapidly increases.

    But we need a high constant baseload of reliable energy generation and that is best provided by nuclear power. Wind, solar dnd tidal power cannot ever form the baseload because they are variable. The only reason they exist is because of public subsidy – the same subsidy being refused to nuclear. Renewables are too expensive otherwise. Decommissioning conventional power generation capacity and not replacing it with nuclear is madness. But this is what happens when energy is politicised and becomes an ideological issue.

  5. 5 B Scott 28/07/2010 at 4:03 pm

    It was kinda unclear to me what the report meant – I mean, wo what extent is nuclear currently subsidised?

    And as Huhne stated, nuclear is a mature industry while renewables are (if not in infancy) still new-ish.

    I’m not so worried about what Huhne said but about his level of conviction one way or the other.

    Didn’t I read that the coalition would be the ‘greenest government ever’ one day, only to read the next day that DEFRA’s had swingeing cuts announced?

  1. 1 The UK’s energy policy in a nutshell « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 16/12/2010 at 4:43 pm
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