By Austen Davies: It’s been a good many years since our troughing politicians proved to us all that the Global Warming (aka Climate Change) Industry had more to do with generating profit than ever it had to do with generating so-called ‘green energy’ – and that’s why we have 3500 wind turbines blighting our land which between them don’t produce as much power as one single medium-sized gas-fired power station.
Wind turbines are embarrassingly inefficient – they are to electricity what Audley Harrison is to boxing; too big, too ‘in-your-face’ – and far too inclined to fall over when called upon to perform.
And we would be fools to take comfort from Energy Minister John Hayes’s weasel-words last October when he promised (a politician’s promise!) to “firmly limit” the number of on-shore wind-farms; he didn’t mention what the ‘limit’ might be either, of course.
Britain’s coal and oil generating plants produce around one-third of the electricity we use, and up to 50% when circumstances (weather, principally) dictate – but a neat little piece of EU legislation set a 12-year fuse to the bomb that is set to destroy that capability – and it was lit 12 years ago.
2001/80/EC better known as the ‘EU Large Combustion Plant Directive’ decreed that commencing 1st January 2008 our coal-fired power stations must close after generating for 20,000 hours.
Kingsnorth in Kent reached that limit on 17th December last year and will close completely at the end of this month. Others will follow later this year.
Because of the complete inadequacy of the failed wind-turbine projects our coal-fired plants have had to work harder than anticipated – which has accelerated their termination.
Our nuclear capacity is old and increasingly unstable, and all but one must close by 2020. Their foreign owners are reluctant to invest in new nuclear power-stations, there being little commercial incentive so to do – and, in any case, if work began today the plants could not be commissioned in time to prevent the UK experiencing power interruptions of the sort only previously associated with ‘Third-World’ countries.
Or perhaps that is how we must think of ourselves now.
But power shortages are only bad news for the consumer (that’s ‘us’ again, of course) - whereas the suppliers will reap all the benefits associated with there being more customers wanting a commodity than there are commodities to supply to customers.
The first rule of Capitalism: “restrict supply- keep prices high it”. And every penny will find itself in the hands of the foreign providers we sold our birthright to.
The first rule of Nationalism: “economic control can only be achieved by self-sufficiency”.
It isn’t complicated.
Back in 2009 our shameless, short-term-mentality Government’s own predictions warned of a ‘shortfall’ of generation capacity by 2017 – but, as might be expected, their figures assume no growth in demand, and an alternative source being to hand.
Yet it was only at the end of 2012 that Chancellor George Osborne finally approved the building of over 30 new gas-fired power stations in order that the problem might not prove quite so cataclysmic as to see half the UK shutting down.
But these are unlikely to be operational in time to prevent ‘Winter of Discontent’ -style power cuts as early as next winter – but we can be assured that they will all end up being foreign-owned.
Also assured is the inevitable fact that we will be dependant on purchasing our gas on the increasingly volatile international market.
And kicking in next month is the ‘Carbon Tax’ that Osborne announced in2010.
From April 2013 a levy of £16-per-tonne is to be levied on British industry’s CO2 emissions increasing to £30-per-tonne in 2020, and £70-per-tonne in 2030.
Enough to double the size of our electricity bills over the next 17 years – irrespective of the effect other market forces may have had along the way.
The supposed purpose of this tax is to (in ‘Treasury’ words) “Drive £30 - £40 Billion” of investment into low-carbon power-production.
Or to drive what is left of our Industry away from our shores for good, perhaps?
If this were Japan, shamed ministers would be flinging themselves off skyscrapers in droves by now.
I’ve always had a deep respect for oriental customs, and commend them to our various Government departments for serious consideration.
We have grown to expect corruption – must we now tolerate incompetence as well?