How has it come to this?

The news today (Jan 18th) is that the EU is about to impose a mandatory target for renewable energy on the UK, of 15% by 2020.  This is not just 15% of power generation, which would be difficult enough, but 15% of all energy consumption.  But this will mainly be done on the power generation side, which will require much more than 15% to be renewables.
 
This is part of what the EU calls “an integrated approach”.  I call it “Central Planning”, and I recall that it did not work terribly well when it was tried out in the Soviet Union in the last century.  As I recently remarked to EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg, it mainly enabled the planners to make mistakes on a larger scale.
 
Energy advice is a bit like dietary advice, which gets turned on its head every decade or so.  Remember when carbohydrates were the bogey-man?  Then it was lack of fibre.  Then it was fats.  Then it was not enough fatty acids.  Take your pick.
 
Just a couple of years ago, bio-fuels were touted as the solution to renewable energy for cars.  Fields of green crops would provide the ethanol and diesel to keep the trucks going.  I perceived the snag with this approach when I heard that Mexican peasants were rioting over the price of tortillas.  If you use maize to drive cars, it isn’t there to feed the people.  As the demographic balance tips world food supplies from surplus to deficit, the idea that we can divert food production to bio-fuels starts to look less attractive.  Add the fact that recent studies demonstrate rather poor CO2 savings — after all it takes quite a lot of diesel to grow and transport crops these days — and bio-fuels look even less attractive.
 
But the real killer is that way that rain forests are being cleared, and habitats destroyed, for palm oil in Indonesia and sugar cane in the Amazon basin.  Bio-fuels are starting to look like an ecological disaster area.
 
Other renewables are not much better.  The proposed Severn Barrage would produce a lot of power, but potentially destroy one of the best wetland habitats in Europe. And the power would be intermittent.  In fact two or three medium sized nuclear reactors could produce as much power continuously, and cheaper, with a relatively tiny footprint.  Wind power is unsightly, intermittent, unpredictable and vastly expensive.  It takes many years to off-set the embedded CO2 resulting from fabrication, erection of turbines and associated infrastructure.
 
Given the EU’s objective of reducing CO2 emissions (let’s accept that idea for purposes of discussion, and not get into all the doubts about anthropogenic global warming), it seems perverse that they insist on renewables, and don’t take new nuclear capacity into account.  (And before the Greens remind us that nuclear is not carbon free, let’s admit they’re right.  Nuclear emits as much CO2 per megawatt as …. wind turbines!).
 
My colleague Sir Robert Atkins MEP (NW) writes that Britain generates less than 20% of its power from nuclear, while the EU average is 37%.  He suggests we should set that average as a target.  Too modest, Sir Robert!  It’s a poor aspiration to be average.  France produces nearly 80% of its power from nuclear.  We should set that as a target for thirty years’ time.
 
But the thing that makes me apoplectic with rage is the idea that, right or wrong, the EU presumes to tell us what we must do in terms of energy generation in our own country.  What business is it of the Central Planners in Brussels?  We should tell them to b****r off.  For this reason, as for so many others, we should be Better Off Out.

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3 Responses to How has it come to this?

  1. Malcolm Edward says:

    Thank you for keeping us informed of the wrong-headed, ideological and centralist demands of the EU. I agree more nuclear power and getting out of the EU would be two of the best decisions we in the UK could make.

  2. Dear Roger
    THANK GOD FOR YOU AND PEOPLE LIKE YOU; TRYING TO STICK UP FOR ORDINARY, HARD WORKING FOLK LIKE ME!
    FOR EVERYTHING YOUR TRYING TO DO …I THANK YOU.

    PLEASE PUBLISH THIS POEM IN YOUR COMMENTS, SO THAT PEOPLE WILL REALISE EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING ON BEHIND CLOSED DOORS!

    I THINK THE FOLLOWING POEM SUMS UP EXACTLY HOW I FEEL….I’M SURE ALONG WITH 100,000’S OTHERS!

    EU TREATY ,WHAT A FARCE
    BROWN CAN STICK IT UP HIS ARSE!
    BRITISH PEOPLE TORN AND MAD
    CP’ CULTISTS, NOW, THEY ARE BAD!

    BRITS ALL OVER, HATE THIS LAND
    NAZI POLICE, NOW IN COMMAND
    PUT THAT FAG OUT, I DEMAND
    OR GO OUTSIDE, AND USE THE STAND!

    SICK TO DEATH OF CALLOUS LAWS
    SMOKERS UNITE, TO FIGHT THE CAUSE
    STRIP THE GOVERNMENT, OF THE LIES
    EXPOSING TRUTH, UNTO THE WISE

    ACT NOW MY FRIEND, AS SOON AS POSS
    OUR ONCE GREAT COUNTRY, AT A LOSS
    IN 2-0-10, THEY’LL BE NO US
    WE NEED TO WAKE UP MAKE A FUSS

    FIND SOME COURAGE, TELL ALL YOU KNOW
    DEMAND A VOTE, AND OVERTHROW
    THIS NAZI GOVERNMENT, BROWN INCLUDED
    FOR OUR CHILDREN, HAVE BEEN DELUDED

    THEY THINK ITS WHOOPPEE, OH SO GREAT
    BRAINWASHED BY THE WORD EU SUPER STATE
    THEY REALIZE NOT, WHAT THEY WILL LOSE
    NO SOVERIEGNTY, NO RIGHT TO CHOOSE.

    THEY ARE OUR CHILDREN, WE NEED TO GUIDE
    NOT LET SOME OFFICIAL, FROM BRUSSELS DECIDE
    THEY’LL BE NO COUNCILS, NO MP’S
    THEY ARE COUNTING ON THEIR PARENTS…PLEASE!
    _________________

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