NEW REPORT: A Crisis in UK Energy Policy Looks Inevitable
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A Crisis in UK Energy Policy Looks Inevitable
We Identify the Possible Triggers
When the crisis hits there will be three possible casualties, the government of the day, the consumer, and the investors who have funded the government’s radical energy policy. Whilst no doubt there will be plenty of pain to go around, in our view investors should be under no illusions that the government of the day will seek to protect itself and the consumer (who are also the electorate) by heaping most of the financial pain on to investors.
UK Energy Policy is not Plausible: in our view successive UK governments have grossly underestimated the engineering, financial, and economic challenges posed by the drive to decarbonise the electricity sector by 2030. Moving from a largely fossil fuel based power system to one dominated by renewables and nuclear in just a decade and a half, whilst keeping the lights on and consumer bills affordable, may simply be impossible.
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FULL REPORT HERE
TELEGRAPH BACKS REPEAL CAMPAIGN
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH CALLS FOR REPEAL OF CLIMATE CHANGE ACT
It is time for the Coalition to tear up its energy policy before the lights go out. The first priority must be to repeal the Climate Change Act of 2008.
Editorial, The Sunday Telegraph
With the worst snow conditions in the country since 1981, it’s worrying, to say the least, that gas supplies are running low. A month ago, The Sunday Telegraph warned in this column of the problems of an energy policy that puts expensive, inefficient green power before coal-fired and nuclear power. There have been a few signs that the Coalition is at last turning its attentions to the issue but, still, not nearly enough has been done. Now we are reaping the consequences. Because of a misguided faith in green energy, we have left ourselves far too dependent on foreign gas supplies, largely provided by Russian and Middle Eastern producers. Only 45 per cent of our gas consumption comes from domestic sources. All it takes is a spell of bad weather, and the closure of a gas pipeline from Belgium, to leave us dangerously exposed, and to send gas prices soaring. Talk of rationing may be exaggerated, but our energy policy is failing to deal with Britain’s fundamental incapacity to produce our own power.
Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, may have granted planning permission this week to a new nuclear power station, Hinkley Point in Somerset. But one nuclear power station, with two new reactors, isn’t nearly enough. Moreover, it will take a decade to build and, even then, will only provide seven per cent of the country’s energy needs.
It is time for the Coalition to tear up its energy policy before the lights really do go out. The first priority must be to repeal the Climate Change Act of 2008, with its brutal, punishing targets: reducing carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, and 26 per cent by 2020. These targets have already had a disastrous effect, forcing the closure of coal-fired power stations, and increasing tax-funded subsidies on wind power. Next month, electricity bills will soar even higher, thanks to a new tax on carbon dioxide produced by coal-fired and gas-fired power stations.
There are good intentions behind a green energy policy, and no one would wilfully want to damage the environment. But green technology – in its current incarnation, anyway – is just too inefficient and expensive to meet our energy needs. In some of the worst weather for more than 30 years, green power still only provides a tiny fraction of our energy needs. Solar power is of limited use in our cold, dark, northern climate. And wind power isn’t much better – cold weather doesn’t necessarily mean windy weather.
At last, the Coalition – or the Conservative part of it, anyway – is beginning to recognise these painfully obvious truths. In this week’s Budget, the Chancellor backed the policy of domestic fracking – the extraction of shale gas – with the promise of tax breaks for companies involved in the industry. He will know that American gas prices have plummeted, thanks to the US embracing the shale gas revolution. Britain must do the same. George Osborne also announced in the Budget that ceramics businesses would be exempt from the Climate Change Levy on energy costs. By making that exemption, he is acknowledging that green taxes are a significant drag on industry. He should make the exemption universal.
Our energy problems have been deepened by the greener-than-green Liberal Democrats, with their seeming stranglehold on the Cabinet post of Energy Secretary. When Chris Huhne took on the job in 2010, he swore Britain would become more independent of energy imports. Yet the country remains just as dependent, and Huhne’s Liberal Democrat colleague, Ed Davey, is still wedded to green power. Last year, he publicly slapped down his junior Tory energy minister, John Hayes, for calling for an end to more wind farms.
There is some good news, however. As we report today, government sources have said that wind power subsidies are to be cut again. This is a move in the right direction and we very much welcome it. It is to be hoped that there will be more such announcements, and concrete actions, from a government that has neglected a fundamental duty – to keep the lights on, energy affordable and our houses warm.
The Sunday Telegraph, 24 March 2013
NEWS: DOUGLAS CARSWELL MP: "I was wrong about the Climate Change Act"
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Douglas Carswell MP: "I was wrong about the Climate Change Act"
My biggest regret as an MP is that I failed to oppose the 2008 Climate Change Act. It was a mistake. I am sorry.
On the very day the Labour government passed this fatuous attempt to "stop global warming", it was, if I remember rightly, snowing. Had I opposed the Bill, it wouldn't have made much difference, but I feel I should have known better.
Unlike much of the gesture legislation that goes through Parliament, this law has turned out to have real consequences. The Climate Change Act has pushed up energy prices, squeezing households and making economic recovery ever more elusive.
The aim of the Climate Change Act was to create a low carbon economy. I fear the Act will do that, but perhaps not the way intended. The Climate Change Act is giving us a low carbon economy the way that pre-industrial Britain had a low carbon economy.
Cutting carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020 – as the Act requires – means, in effect, making energy costs so high that some will have to go without. How is that progress?
The Act's carbon price floors push up prices. Instead of energy producers competing to supply households and businesses with a product at a price they are willing to pay, the legislation introduces a system of price fixing. Suppliers switch to so called "renewable" energy sources, and the end user pays.
An unaccountable quango – the Committee on Climate Change – gets to determine energy policy much the way that central bankers now run monetary policy. The precedent is not a good one. Adair Turner, head honcho at the Financial Service Authority, is its chairman.
The tragedy is that it does not have to be this way. Technological innovation is discovering new ways of obtaining vast reserves of fossil fuel. As our understanding grows, the idea that human activity alone causes climate change seems less certain than it once did. Wind turbines, it turns out, are renewable in the sense that they need replacing every 25 years – or perhaps even every 15.
Too often, public policy in Whitehall is shaped by residual ideas and assumptions – which turn out to be wrong. Nowhere is this more so than when it comes to energy policy. It is time for a fundamental rethink about energy policy – starting with an acknowledgment that 2008 Act has got it wrong.
NEW BOOK OUT IN MARCH ORDER NOW!
The Age of Global Warming: A History
Listen to James Dellingpole's interview with Rupert Darwall about his book here.
SIR PAUL NURSE Vs LORD NIGEL LAWSON ON CLIMATE SCIENCE
Ben Pile exposes the weak and misleading comments made recently by Royal Society President Sir Paul Nurse on Lord Nigel Lawson's views on climate science and climate policies.
Public appeal calls for suspension of the EU's hugely expensive Climate & Energy Package
Concerned citizens from across the European Union are calling for lower energy prices, and for the suspension of the EU's Climate and Energy Package, which mandates aggressive targets for expensive renewables. They are using a mechanism called the "European Citizens' Initiative", created under the Lisbon Treaty, to set out their demands. This requires a million signatures across the EU by November 2013 -- including 54,000 from the UK. Members of the public can sign on-line.
If successful, the European Commission will have to respond to the initiative, and hearings will be conducted in the European parliament. The initiative will not force the EU Commission to comply, but it will hugely raise the profile of the issue, and put pressure on the EU institutions for a rational and affordable energy policy.
In the UK, EU targets will require 30% of energy generation from renewables, mainly wind, by 2020, potentially adding £150 to £200 a year to household bills. Other countries face even bigger problems. The idea for this initiative started out in Poland, which is 90% dependant on coal for electricity, and is impacted even more severely than the UK by the EU's ultra-high-cost approach.
The huge costs of the programme in the UK are largely the result of dependence on wind farms. These are expensive to start with. Then they require conventional back-up, greatly increasing costs. And they also require massive new investment in the Grid to cope with distributed and intermittent generation.
The initiative has the support of a number of MEPs, including Scottish Conservative Struan Stevenson and Polish MEP Jacek Kurski of Solidarna Polska. Jacek Kurski says:"Most of us understand how important it is to stop the harmful EU climate policy wasting billions of Euros on ineffective unilateral climate policy in the middle of a worldwide economic crisis. This petition allows citizens a voice to demand the EU stop its harmful policies and demand cheaper energy. Please sign up now."
The fact is that the EU's Climate & Energy package, with its very aggressive targets for renewable energy, is driving up energy costs. It is forcing millions of households and pensioners into fuel poverty. It is undermining industrial competitiveness in the UK and Europe, and driving energy-intensive businesses, with their jobs and investment, out of the EU altogether. But it will have little or no effect on the environment, since the EU accounts for only around 13% of CO2 emissions. Meantime around the world there are some 1200 new coal-fired power stations in the pipeline.
Now’s your chance to make your voice heard on this vital issue: please sign up today. And circulate details to your friends and contacts.
The UK's representative for the project is Leicestershire-based Paul Oakden, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHY WE MUST FIGHT THE EU GREEN MOVEMENT
70,000 UK JOBS ‘AT RISK FROM EU CLIMATE CHANGE LAW’
Up to 70,000 British jobs are at risk as a direct result of European carbon reduction targets, according to a report. The policies have pushed up the cost of energy, threatening the vital mineral industries which deal in materials such as cement, chemicals, glass, ceramics and steel, the study claims.
It says the aluminium industry has been ‘virtually eradicated’ after closures in Anglesey and Northumberland, and blames policies which penalise ‘energy-intensive’ industries for emitting too much carbon dioxide.
As a result, firms in such industries, which employ 70,000 people, could be driven abroad where there are less stringent targets, costing jobs on our shores with no overall environmental benefits.
The study by think-tank Civitas claims the only way to save the £400billion-a-year industry is to scrap plans to fine firms which produce too much carbon dioxide.
Ministers should exempt such companies from the climate change levy – a tax on industries which do not use renewable energy – to the maximum extent permitted under EU directives.
And it says the Coalition should abandon its ‘unachievable’ target of generating 20 per cent of electricity by renewable methods by 2020 – the most far-reaching target in the EU.
The report said that EU legislation adds ‘considerable costs’ to energy prices, while the UK’s environmental strategy raises energy prices to high levels, even in comparison with the rest of the continent.
Unlike other countries with ambitious carbon reduction targets, Britain does not currently legislate to protect key industries.
"It says the aluminium industry has been ‘virtually eradicated’ after closures in Anglesey and Northumberland, and blames policies which penalise ‘energy-intensive’ industries for emitting too much carbon dioxide"
Study author Kaveh Pourvand said: ‘Germany is careful to protect its energy-efficient industries with significant concessions on energy costs, estimated to be nine billion euros in 2011.’
The report advocates scrapping the ‘carbon price floor’, the amount companies will have to pay per ton of carbon dioxide they emit, which is intended to come into force in April.
The author points out that the EU-wide policy means that the continent is allowed to emit a certain amount of CO2 each year.
But the ‘obvious flaw’ is that if Britain reduces its amount of CO2, other countries will be allowed to produce more, meaning British industry is unfairly shackled.
It concludes: ‘Following David Cameron’s pledge to lead the “greenest” government ever, the Coalition has stuck firmly to the implementation and continuance of the 2008 Climate Change Act, committing the UK to a unilateral cut in carbon emissions of 80 per cent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.
‘For British manufacturing to revive, the Government should abandon its expensive climate change policies.’
Daily Mail, 27 Dedember 2012
Repeal the Act! Campaign to Repeal the Climate Change Act has a petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/42784