Energy policy folly comes back to the fore

With a big hat tip to Bishop Hill…  Some common sense observations about this government’s lhuhnacy when it comes to renewable energy generation from John Constable at Standpoint., who gives it to us straight when he says ‘Renewables Won’t Keep the Lights On’.  The money quote is this:

Britain is obtaining only a fraction of its electricity from renewable sources, just under 7 per cent in 2009-2010 [a dubious claim – AM]. The wholesale price of that quantity of electricity would be approximately £1bn, but the Renewables Obligation, a complex subsidy paid to generators but drawn indirectly from bills, adds a further £1.4bn, more than doubling the cost to the British consumer.

In its first three months, from July to September 2010, the Feed-in Tariff for microgeneration (guaranteed prices to support, among other things, solar photovoltaics [PV] and wind turbines up to a capacity of five megawatt) has produced roughly 0.005 per cent of UK annual demand, at a cost of £2.6m. This generous support has encouraged the construction of an installed capacity of microgenerators totalling 59 MW. To put that in perspective, peak load in Britain on a cold winter’s afternoon is nearly 59,000 MW.

It is a huge sum of our money for a tiny return.  Now compare this hideously expensive and wholly unreliable wind power reality with the detached thinking of Chris Huhne, who declared that ‘The lights are not going to go out on my watch’. He is probably right, not for the reasons one would think, but because the damage caused now will come back to bite us once he’s been consigned to the history books. The Barclay Brother Beano piece where this was reported by Lil’ Lou focused on the cost and completely ignored the logistics. For that we have to turn to the tireless Christopher Booker who demonstrates how Huhne’s renewables folly will actually undermine our energy generation capability. So where does this leave us? Back to Standpoint:

In private, the best-informed analysts now agree that Britain’s environmental policies have put the country on track to have the world’s most expensive electricity. This is mainly because our competitors are almost certain to choose cheaper routes to emissions reductions, such as natural gas, or to shun emissions reductions altogether.

And it leaves us without the energy generation capability needed in a modern industrialised nation – particularly one led by idiots who think thousands of megawatts of electricity required for this ludicrously timed bit of spin will just ‘be there’ ready when we need it.

Where does this folly originate? Unsurprisingly it comes from the leader of those Lib Dem opportunists, who denies there is a looming energy gap at all and that we just need to be more green. No, really. He actually believes this stuff. While safely away from the levers of power with their 18% or so in opinion polls it was easy to laugh off such naive stupidity. But now Clegg is sitting on Cameron’s knee and Huhne has been let loose at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, this insanity is being realised and unless it is stopped we are going to pay a huge amount in more ways than one.

1 Response to “Energy policy folly comes back to the fore”

  1. 1 Tufty 25/12/2010 at 12:50 pm

    There is a good piece at the link below where the German wind power experience is analysed. It shows how feed-in tariffs lead to overinvestment in unreliable energy sources leading to higher costs and no environmental benefits.

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