As UKIP Energy Spokesman, I have stated two clear and straightforward objectives for energy policy: (1) Keep the Lights On; (2) Keep energy affordable. We shall be issuing an up-date on UKIP energy policy later this month at Party Conference. No major changes, but a discussion of the shale gas opportunity.
We need affordable energy to take households and pensioners out of fuel poverty. But equally important, we must have affordable energy if we’re going to stop driving industry and jobs and investment overseas; if we’re going to restore the competitiveness of British Industry; and if we’re going to get the industrial regeneration which this country so desperately needs.
With this in mind, we’ve backed our Polish colleagues in their Affordable Energy campaign. They’ve launched a “European Citizens’ Initiative” calling for the suspension of the EU’s climate and energy package, at least until other major economies adopt similar measures. Clearly other major economies are not about to adopt such measures, so in effect the demand is unconditional. The Initiative is still open and you can sign on at www.affordable-energy.eu. There’s a delicious irony in using the enemy’s instruments to attack the enemy’s policy.
More recently the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which does excellent work in a number of areas, not least in the climate and energy debate, has created a “Great Energy Swindle” web-site, at www.energyswindle.org. You can go on to it and key in your annual gas and electricity bill. It will tell you how much of your bill is tax. And it will tell you how much you can expect your combined bill to be by 2020. I suggest you do this while sitting down, and preferably with a glass of whisky on the desk. It may come as a shock. The average combined bill is predicted to be close to £1900.
Several different estimates are saying that we can expect our energy bills to go up by around 30% by 2020. And that’s just the result of government taxes and other regulatory measures – it doesn’t even factor in the basic wholesale increases in energy costs. Liberum Capital has energy prices up by 29%. And the House of Commons Energy & Climate Change Committee comes up with a similar figure.
Why is this a swindle? Because it’s all being done in the name of “fighting climate change”. And it’s wrong at three levels: first, with no climate change in nearly twenty years, despite rising atmospheric CO2 (a fact that undermines the IPCC’s climate models), the basic science is open to question. Second, even if we choose to destroy our economy with expensive and ineffectual renewables, it’s clear that other countries won’t. China and India are starting new coal-fired power stations at a rate of more than one a week. There are 1200 new coal-fired power station in the global pipeline. Even “green” Germany is building or refurbishing twenty-five. Emissions have come down in the USA, but that’s the direct result of replacing coal with cheaper shale gas, which Caroline Lucas hates so much.
And third, there is a strong case, which I have set out in these columns, that intermittent renewables do not in fact achieve significant emissions reductions, or significant contributions to energy generation, because their apparent contribution is largely off-set by the inefficiencies they impose on the inevitable conventional back-up.
So our policies fail at three separate levels. But they succeed in decimating our economy, driving production and investment off-shore, and creating fuel poverty. All pain. No gain.
So let’s do what the TPA suggests, and write to our MPs demanding an end to this nonsense. Let’s demand affordable energy.