Last week saw a defeat for the green lobby groups which have controlled Britain's energy policy for the last decade.
John Gummer, new chairman of the Climate Change Committee, wrote a letter to Ed Davey, making very negative noises about Britain having to rely on gas to produce electricity.
The committee made this astonishing request: that Mr Davey ban the use of fossil fuels in generating electricity. This wasn't done directly; the committee did it by saying that he should impose a CO2 emissions limit way below that which any fossil fuel plant could meet. (They said 50 gm of CO2 emitted per kWh, but gas produces 400g and coal 700g; only nuclear and renewables are below 50g)
Mr. Gummer (aka Lord Deben) has been involved with various 'green' companies which benefit from renewables subsidies. They would be the direct beneficiaries of any reduction in fossil fuel use.
Before he could be confirmed in his new post, Gummer was obliged to resign as chairman of a firm planning the world’s largest offshore wind farm and as director of another planning a Severn tidal barrage.
Tim Yeo, who is also heavily involved with green energy firms (he earned £200,000 from them last year on top of his parliamentary salary of £80,000) has backed the demand for a ban on fossil fuel electricity. Mr. Yeo is chairman of the Commons committee on energy and climate change.
Fossil fuels currently provide three quarters of our electricity.
It is extremely worrying that senior political figures responsible for energy policy are still making statements showing that they don't understand the first thing about it.
Mr Davey’s response was to state that we need a massive new investment in gas generation. Only after 2030 would this require the “carbon capture and storage”; an unproven technology, and likely to remain so.
Country after country is now exploiting shale gas which has resulted in big drops in gas prices. The USA, China, Germany, France, Russia, South Africa and others all have immense reserves.
In Britain, our new Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson is winning support for his enthusiasm for shale gas from key officials in his own department and from the Environment Agency, which has regulatory responsibility for this new industry.
After years of our energy policy being dictated by green activists, reality is at last breaking in.
The next step should be the repeal of the Climate Change Act.
Partly summarised from Chris Booker's article in the DT, 15 Sep 2012, with additions by me. If you wish to quote from it, please use his original, not my precis.....ND