Energy Security: the Killer Directive

I have written extensively on energy issues.  But there is one particular problem that I have not mentioned, and that is the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive.  It was mentioned by Tim Boswell MP at a meeting of Conservatives in Northampton recently, and I am grateful to him for reminding me of it.
The EU, in its manic pursuit of emissions reductions, has required all combustion plants built before 1987 to reduce output in 2008 and to close entirely by 2015.  These are perfectly good power plants.  They are safe, efficient, well-maintained and reasonably modern.  The only reason for closing them is the EU’s climate hysteria and carbon-phobia.
Leave aside the financial problem: that we are asked to junk infrastructure assets worth billions of pounds in perfectly good working order.  The real issue is energy supply.   Our electricity supply and energy security over the next ten to fifteen years are touch-and-go anyway.  Take out several large coal-fired power stations, as we are required to do, and the inevitable result will be power-outs, rolling black-outs and a three-day-week.  Homes, hospitals, offices and factories will find themselves without electricity.
The impact on our economy and our prosperity, and perhaps on our social fabric, will be catastrophic.
There is, however, a potential silver lining.  By 2010 we will have (pray heaven!) a Conservative government.  I should like to think of a future Conservative Energy Minister going to Brussels and saying something like the following:
“We are required to take several major coal-fired power stations out of service about now.  However we have reviewed our energy supply position, and we find the consequences of this action would be catastrophic and simply unacceptable.  This is a fundamental question of national interest, even survival.  We have therefore decided to keep these plants in full production for the remainder of their design-life.  We well understand that we shall be in breach of EU law, but we shall lose no sleep over that.  Neither shall we accept any penalty, nor pay any fine”.
There are of course a few rabid greens and wets who would argue that we should accept the directive and take the consequences.  But the moment that the power-cuts begin to bite, the demand of the British people for immediate action will be deafening.  And woe betide any British government that lets the lights go out.

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