Stranger than fiction
There is a saying that truth is stranger than fiction.
That is certainly true with Tory energy policy.
You just couldn’t make it up.
Last week, the last remaining deep coal miners in Britain received their Christmas present – redundancy notices.
Kellingley pit in North Yorkshire closed for the last time.
The Government proudly says it is the first to phase out coal-fired power stations. That would appear to be the (ir)rationale for scrapping its £1bn carbon capture and storage programme. This could have given coal, which we have in abundance, a future, as well as provide fantastic business opportunities for Britain.
But it gets worse.
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd favours gas to replace coal by 2025, saying that to rely on “polluting” fuel was perverse.
Her department boasts that “we are the first country to set out an end date for unabated coal as part of our plans for a cleaner energy future,set on a secure base of gas and nuclear”.
This is just breathtaking rubbish.
Has she any concept of the meaning of ‘perverse’?
The Government is hell-bent on bringing shale gas on stream at fast as it possibly can.
It has manipulated the political process to permit drilling under National Parks from rigs situated on the edge.
And folk complain that wind turbines are unsightly!
Despite the technology being available to make the huge flares we see offshore unnecessary, there are no signs of that technology being used.
The environmental fallout from the products of combustion of those flares (and any unburnt gas within them) is unknown.
Lord Smith’s industry-funded report waxes eloquent about the extent of regulation, citing the number of government agencies involved.
Actually, that is exactly the reason why the enforcement of regulation is inherently dysfunctional.
But setting all that to one side, we have NOT invested in the large-scale gas generation plants needed to feed the grid, which has caused National Grid to warn that it may have switch off heavy industrial users at peak times.
Instead, National Grid has published the results of this year’s subsidy auction.
This system is truly ‘perverse’ in that it favours highly polluting small-scale gas and diesel generators over the kind of plant we need.
A junior minister in Rudd’s department, Andrea Leadsom, welcomed the auction results, saying they had driven down costs for consumers.
That’s why the latest nuclear deal with EDF and China guarantees electricity prices to the producers of at least twice the current wholesale price.
Let’s not go there if you want to retain the will to live.
Stand with our allies
Tony Homewood (Wigan Evening Post December 7) quotes Ronald Reagan: “Don’t just do something. Stand there” as a reason why we should not back the bombing of ‘Daesh’.
I would like to counter with Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
We need to stand proudly alongside our allies and friends in this time of conflict, not skulk at the back, saying: “You have a go pal. I’ll hold your coat.”