From a video on Youtube featuring Christopher Booker and Prof. Stephen Bush, Engineer, University of Manchester
Possibly the biggest crisis this country faces in the next few years is that within six or seven years we are going to lose 40% of all the generating capacity of the power stations which are keeping our lights on, our computers running; the whole fabric of our society working. When that happens, we will be in one of the biggest crises this country has ever faced.
With North Sea production in sharp decline, the UK is heavily reliant on imported coal, oil and gas; and all but one of our nuclear power stations will shut down in the next 7 years. It leaves a substantial gap, and Britain at the mercy of global energy markets. But at this most vulnerable time, the UK government has lost control of British energy policy to the European Union, with catastrophic consequences.
EU environmental directives will force the premature closure of our vital coal-fired power stations, and have imposed unachieveable and costly emissions targets which have distorted the UK energy strategy, and left it with few viable options.
We are paying the price for three things in this country in terms of energy: one is the fact that we had plentiful North Sea oil and gas, which meant that for twenty years we didn't need to think about where we were going to get our energy from in the future.
The second has been the 'wave' which led us to lose touch with the value of nuclear power stations; they became a dirty word and no-one wanted to build any new ones.
The third thing is that we are completely hamstrung by what Brussels is deciding about renewables, about biofuels and lots of other things to do with our energy, including the closing down of our coal fired power stations. We are no longer in any way masters of our own house.
What the energy issue is doing is bringing the British people for the very first time hard up against the facts of life of being in the European Union.
The EU issued a range of environmental directives imposing onerous targets for reduction of carbon emissions. It demands that by 2020, 20% of our energy needs come from renewable sources. But this precludes using proven alternatives to fossil fuels such as nuclear power. So the UK has been driven relentlessly down the road of unviable and more costly solutions, such as biofuels and wind turbines.
The UK government's headlong leap into its current energy strategies is skewed towards meeting those crippling obligations rather than securing long-term sources of energy for Britain.
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