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Britain’s Energy Policy Going Up In Smoke

March 13, 2016

By Paul Homewood    

 

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/comment/article-3489370/SIMON-WATKINS-Britain-s-energy-policy-going-smoke-thanks-decades-short-term-politically-driven-policies.html

 

 

Bit by bit, the MSM is catching up. From the Mail:

 

The Chancellor is facing the usual litany of demands from business ahead of this week’s Budget, but there is one issue which is probably of greater significance for the future of the British economy that any other – energy.

This country’s energy policy is a shambles.

The cases of Hinkley Point nuclear power plant and the Drax coal and wood burning plant between them demonstrate the extraordinary mess we are in.

Dirty business: The cases of Hinkley Point nuclear power plant and the Drax coal and wood burning plant (pictured) between them demonstrate the extraordinary mess we are in

Dirty business: The cases of Hinkley Point nuclear power plant and the Drax coal and wood burning plant (pictured) between them demonstrate the extraordinary mess we are in

 

It is not a mess uniquely created by our current Government, nor the Coalition which preceded it. Instead, it is the result of several decades of short-term politically driven policies and often public posturing by politicians of all stripes.

Industrial battles over our coal industry; controversy over the safety of nuclear energy; and, in more recent years, the injection of environmental gesture politics have created a chaotic situation.

I blame accounting – both of the financial and the environmental variety.

And these are not side issues: Drax provides about 8 per cent of the UK’s electricity. Hinkley Point is planned to produce a similar proportion.

The Drax case shows starkly how the system of ‘carbon accounting’ is a nonsense – or, at the very least, open to the kind of subjective accounting methods we usually associate with advanced tax avoidance.

It is the result of a futile attempt to reduce the question of carbon emissions to a kind of book-keeping. Then there is Hinkley Point. The deal with the French group EDF, backed by China, to build two reactors in Somerset was negotiated at a hugely expensive price.

Under the deal, Britain is guaranteeing to buy electricity from Hinkley at twice the current market rate.

Defenders, such as former Energy Secretary Sir Ed Davey, insist that this is a sound deal not least because it includes the full costs of cleaning up and decommissioning the plants in the future.

That may be true. But it has now emerged that EDF itself has doubts about whether it can afford the risk involved in building the plant.

Last week, its finance director quit – citing Hinkley as a danger to the largely French state-owned group.

Now the boss of Hinkley has gone cap in hand to the French government asking for financial support to go ahead with the scheme.

So the UK could end up depending for 7 per cent of its electricity on a French state subsidy and burning wood that emits more carbon dioxide than coal. What kind of parallel universe is this?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/comment/article-3489370/SIMON-WATKINS-Britain-s-energy-policy-going-smoke-thanks-decades-short-term-politically-driven-policies.html

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Gamecock permalink
    March 13, 2016 2:30 pm

    Ever notice how Britain had plenty of energy until the government got an Energy Policy?

    • March 16, 2016 6:22 pm

      My brother worked for the Central Electricity Generating Board until Maggie Thatcher sold its assets to the “private sector”. Dinorwig Pumped Storage , where he worked as Chief Biologist and then Chief Engineer, is now owned by Mitsui. I suspect that Britain’s nuclear engineers left the country, just as I did for different reasons. That’s presumably why Britain has to go the EDF and China.
      But of course the German ‘green’ hostility to nuclear is endangering both the EU economy and the Black Forest.

  2. Bloke down the pub permalink
    March 13, 2016 2:34 pm

    In today’s Sunday Telegraph they still can’t resist the back-lit cooling towers photo. Too much to think they’ll ever grow out of it?

  3. March 13, 2016 5:00 pm

    ‘So the UK could end up depending for 7 per cent of its electricity on a French state subsidy and burning wood that emits more carbon dioxide than coal. What kind of parallel universe is this?’

    It’s the universe where dogma trumps reality. Welcome aboard😦

  4. Ben Vorlich permalink
    March 13, 2016 7:58 pm

    One is tempted to ask “What energy policy?”

    • March 16, 2016 6:27 pm

      That’s a very good question. One might wonder if they even know the difference between energy and power, or if they don’t even know what ‘work’ is.
      I am tempted to ask you, Ben, if your peak is girdled wi’ fire, and if that’s your reason for an interest in energy.

  5. Plodder permalink
    March 24, 2016 11:53 am

    Ferrybridge C, 1 Gigawatt coal fired power station shut down yesterday 23rd March. That’s less backup for those windless days.

    Power cuts next winter?

    • March 24, 2016 7:47 pm

      Quite possibly. But in a sane economy, this would be a Good Thing. A far worse calamity, here in the USA, was the utterly unnecessary shutdown of San Onofre Nuclear, two reactors of 1.1 GW each, because of a trifling leak in one of them, of radioactivity confined within the high pressure water system, consisting of radioactive N-16, which decays to one billionth of its strength in less than four minutes.
      The chief culprit in all this is exemplified by the fact that although Trident submarines seem to receive general approval, or at least toleration, even among the SNP, civilian
      nuclear fills the Left with horror. This is utterly backwards — has Britain more need to threaten abominable destruction than Norway or Sweden? And against whom — Al Qaeda? Where?

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