I’ve got to check the proofs of the typeset book before printing so this will be a brief post but I couldn’t let today’s announcement on wind go without comment. It looks like the UK chancellor’s interference in the energy debate has been to an extent seen off, but possibly at some cost in the future. A cut in onshore wind subsidies was perfectly reasonable – just not 25%. I look forward to the day when wind/solar etc. requires no subsidy and that day is getting closer. I have some qualms about onshore wind – not its efficacy but some aspects of sighting. Nevertheless I’m glad the chancellor has not managed to kill it off.
What is more worrying though is the chancellor’s fixation with gas. I don’t understand the reasoning behind the ‘if gas stays cheap we should use it to make electricity’ statements that have been apparently been flying around. Gas has (almost) never been as expensive (here (UK)). I say almost since the price I paid (along with everyone else’s) went up 30% last year but has come down a bit since. The reason it went up was not pesky environmental regulations but due to its link with oil price and the fact that we having to buy more gas on world markets (non UK readers can wake up now after ignoring the last point). If gas is so plentiful why are starting to use unconventional gas? This takes a lot more effort, energy and therefore cost to extract. It puts a floor under prices. If we stay dependent on gas we will face higher heating and electricity bills as we make ourselves dependent on a declining resource. And we will fail to meet our carbon targets. Targets we ourselves have made legally binding. Something that still makes me proud to be British. It has to be said that the UK is not the only country facing a backlash against renewables from its government the same is happening in Germany. As some of the other articles on the same website show and as I have blogged about before, fixed price renewables are cutting the price wholesale electricity, since conventional plant is not required. I thought this government got energy security even if it didn’t get climate change, it seems it may get neither…
Back to checking the book.