There’ll be no growth with current energy policies

Cutsey as hell, but green policies are crucifying our economy

Everyone agrees that the recovery of the UK economy requires two elements: first, spending restraint.  Second, economic growth.

George Osborne has won plaudits for his robust approach to spending restraint (even if we may quibble over the details).  But on growth, there’s less good news.  Despite all the talk of rebalancing the economy, and making the UK a good place for investment, we have little to show for it.  A series of reports from business organisations accuses the government of failing to live up to its rhetoric, and delivering little on the growth agenda.  Rather than rebalance the economy by promoting manufacturing, we are planning new taxes that seem designed to drive energy-intensive businesses off-shore.

We need a review of taxes on employment and enterprise.  We need a serious, radical review of the regulatory burden that holds business back — reform is always promised, too rarely delivered.  But there is one other key area where action is an absolutely necessary condition for growth, and that’s energy policy.  As things stand, we look set to give the UK the highest energy prices in the world.

New figures from Utilyx, the energy consultants, forecast that electricity prices will rise by 58% by 2020.  At that stage, green taxes and related infrastructure costs will represent 38% of the price.  This is not something imposed from the outside (except to the extent that green polices are mandated by Brussels — another reason we should be Better Off Out).  These massive — unsustainable — rises are the result of deliberate policy decisions made by the Coalition, by DECC, by Chris Huhne.  They will fatally undermine Britain’s competitiveness in the global economy.

If DECC and Huhne don’t understand the consequences of their decisions, then they are in dereliction of their duty.  If they do understand, and are pressing ahead anyway — then words fail me.  They are apparently setting out deliberately to sabotage our economy and to pauperise our children.

So there is a clear message for George Osborne: Unless you want to see your economic plans scuppered by green zealots, you need to start waving the big stick now.

Recognise that wind power implies building the same capacity twice over — once as gas-fired power stations to provide conventional back-up; and again, at far greater expense, for the wind turbines.  Remember that the gas-fired back-up will run inefficiently, intermittently, as it responds to the vagaries of the wind, and that the gas-fired units will therefore be more expensive to run, and emit more CO2, than they need to be.

The solution is staring us in the face: just build the gas-fired plants, and forget the wind.  Gas is increasingly plentiful, and (if you care about such things) relatively low on CO2 emissions.  Only gas will keep the lights on in the medium term.  For the longer term, we need nuclear and coal.  Renewables may have a place at the margin, or in remote locations, but we should remember that wind turbines are garden ornaments, not power stations.  As Shaun Spiers of the CPRE has remarked, wind turbines “risk becoming the redundant relics of our compulsion to do something”, even if the something is damaging and counter-productive.

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9 Responses to There’ll be no growth with current energy policies

  1. yaosxx says:

    Thoroughly agree with you Roger – it is a whole number of policies that will restrict growth which is not something that can be conjured from thin air and dodgy maths. It’s also not something that you can expect if you are going to take with one hand and not give anything back with the other – or not enough. You can’t on the one hand talk about cuts and then let CEOs in local councils earn double what the prime minister earns – you can’t talk about cuts in quangos when in fact what has happened is departments have just simply merged so the whole thing just carries on under a different name – you can’t give in to eu regulatory policy that literally sees to it that small and large businesses including this Country itself find it near on impossible to function properly and within their means. I mention all this in addition to all you have written on the Energy front. If Osborne is either not aware of this or not prepared to be aware of this then he is not fit for purpose – which many of us already suspect though there are others to blame, as you mention, as well.

  2. Span Ows says:

    Just how much more evidence does anyone need that wind power (or at least our current attempts) are an enormous white elephant. Just the measurement of working life, failure rate, repair, maintenance and replacement costs is enough to turn any unsubsidised company away from such waste.

  3. Mike Spilligan says:

    Huhne is clearly not up to the job, but I suspect that any one chosen as his successor will be as bad, or worse.
    It seems that no MP has much knowledge on energy – including the mess that we’re already in – and on the priorities for the options. If you add the matter of carbon-dioxide / climate variability, then those don’t figure as priorities at all.
    My attitude – and you may laugh if you wish – is that we are in as bad a position, economically, as we were militarily in 1940 at the Fall of France. These really are desperate times and we need a cohesive national plan to deal with them; and that should mean stopping – yes, now – building any more idiotic windmills. I’m sure there are some who will readily point out that that would result in cancellation costs, etc., etc. But this is an emergency and as urgent as any war emegency and wartime measures* are called for. Both Russia and China are building pilot thorium power plants, which may be a longer term solution for base-load power, with none of the problems of uranium. Why aren’t we doing that? Maybe because we’re still paying too many “scientists” at UEA too much money to try to prove their now irrelevant theories about CO2. We’re far past that stage now.
    I have written to my MP about this, but he’s very relaxed and has got a list of platitudes as long as both his arms. I despair.
    (*Yes, I know Caroline Lucas has said something similar, but she’s thinking of making candles – Maybe she’d make 100 candles, if rendered down.)

  4. Robert (DMML) says:

    Another great piece Roger – keep it up for all our sakes.

    An email I received yesterday PSST! wanna buy some carbon. I realize this will be old news to some, but you are still being invited to invest.

    The Brochure Contains
    • The challenge of climate change
    • What is the carbon credit market?
    • How does the Kyoto Protocol work?
    • Which projects are eligible?
    • Why buy credits now?
    But beware if it sounds to good to be true it is

    Death of a carbon salesman: Chicago Climate Exchange
    Posted on August 9, 2011 by Anthony Watts
    It was essentially dead when we announced on WUWT Chicago Climate Exchange(CCX) was halting carbon futures trading last year. Note the flatlined final price of 5 cents per ton:

    1. Curtains Fall on only US Carbon Trading Chicago Climate Exchange ……/curtains-fall-on-only-... – United States – Cached

  5. matthu says:

    Well summarised.

    Unfortunately UK MPs are either too complacent or complicit – there can be no other explanation for their readiness to sign up to this madness.

  6. Peter Hulme Cross says:

    I’m afraid George Osborne didn’t help by putting a floor on the price of Carbon in his Budget. The following quote is from Business Green….

    “Osborne confirmed in his budget address that the UK would become the first country in the world to impose a carbon floor price. It is designed to ensure the price on carbon imposed through the EU emissions trading scheme does not fall below a set level.
    He said the floor price would start at £16 per tonne in 2013 and rise to £30 a tonne by 2020”.

    And there is a description of the whole disastrous energy policy here….

    It was all approved “on the nod” without even a debate in Parliament. Not one MP challenged it.

    We are being led by the ‘Gadarene Swine’…

  7. Lazarus says:

    “Despite all the talk of rebalancing the economy, and making the UK a good place for investment, we have little to show for it. A series of reports from business organisations accuses the government of failing to live up to its rhetoric, and delivering little on the growth agenda. Rather than rebalance the economy by promoting manufacturing”

    Glad to see that you are now fairly in line with my position of personal vs business taxes that is discussed on another posting

    Unfortunately you have used it as a misguided opportunity to bash the future energy infrastructure, though there is little point in me saying why as I’m sure it will fall on deaf ears.

    But in pursuing your outdated energy beliefs you have missed the elephant in the room that you seem to ignore after highlighting it in your very first paragraph;

    “Everyone agrees that the recovery of the UK economy requires two elements: first, spending restraint. Second, economic growth.”

    This shows the Catch 22 that we are in as a country. How to grow the economy with spending restraint? Because of financial fears I have had to implement austerity measures of my own just like so many Joe Normal’s in the country.

    I have forgone replacing my ageing car, improving my home and cut back on spending. This has really nothing directly to do with energy prices and everything to do with rising bills across the board coupled with lack of employment security. Like most people my job requires people to spend money on the goods the company I work for produces.

    • Key approaches: Abandon unsustainable “renewable” energy plans which preclude recovery; take an axe to business regulation (especially EU regulation, like the Agency Workers’ Directive); reduce taxes ASAP.

  8. Paddy Meiklejohn says:

    When the green taxes bite, Cameron’s popularity will bite the dust – and stay there for good.

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